The UK is to make a formal protest to the government of Ecuador over the country's decision to harbor Julian Assange, the Foreign Office has said. The Wikileaks co-founder sought asylum at London's Ecuadorean embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden.
UK officials said the bill for policing the embassy, which stands at £12m ($18.8m; €16.8m), was unacceptable. Earlier, Swedish prosecutors dropped two sex assault claims against Mr. Assange, who had denied the claims.
Assange still faces the more serious accusation of rape, which he also denies.
The British Ambassador in Quito, Ecuador's capital is to make the formal protest to the Ecuadorean government on Thursday.
Ecuador must recognize that its decision to harbor Mr. Assange more than three years ago has prevented the proper course of justice... It is completely unacceptable that the British taxpayer has had to foot the bill for this abuse of diplomatic relations, said Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire.
Mr. Swire said the UK continues to have a legal obligation to extradite Mr. Assange over the rape allegation.
I have instructed our ambassador in Quito to reiterate to Ecuador that the continuing failure... to bring this situation to an end is being seen as a growing stain on the country's reputation, he added.
Mr. Assange sought asylum three years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden, fearing he would then be sent to the US and put on trial for releasing secret American documents. The UK has paid for policing around the embassy in Knightsbridge, central London, for the past three years.
The formal protest comes after Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation into an allegation of sexual molestation and an accusation of unlawful coercion against Assange because they ran out of time to question him.
An additional alleged incident of sexual molestation will be time barred - that is, time will run out to question Assange - on 18 August.
The Swedish statement also said an allegation of rape was due to expire on 17 August 2020, but that investigation would continue. The alleged events took place in August 2010.
Assange said he was extremely disappointed, adding the Swedish prosecutor had avoided hearing his side of the story. Under Swedish law, charges cannot be laid without interviewing the suspect.