Washington: Former US President George W. Bush has canceled a speech scheduled for Saturday in Denver after being informed that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had been invited to the same event.
Six months ago, Bush agreed to speak at the Young Presidents’ Organization Global Leadership Summit, but he only found out this week that Assange had also been asked to speak at the event, Bush spokesman David Sherzer said on Friday.
“The former president has no desire to share a forum with a man who has willfully and repeatedly done great harm to the interests of the United States,” Reuters quoted Sherzer as saying in a written statement.
The Young Presidents’ Organization is a nonprofit, worldwide network of young chief executives. More than 1,500 CEOs are expected to attend the two-day leadership summit, according to the organization.
Assange was scheduled to appear at the conference via video link but it is now unclear whether or not he will give his speech.
The WikiLeaks founder would not have been able to appear at the event in person because he is currently under house arrest in Britain, facing charges of rape and sexual assault in Sweden.
On Thursday, a British court ruled that he should be extradited to Sweden to face the charges in a court in the Scandinavian country.
Julian Assange has become a household name through his whistle-blower project Wikileaks, which has disclosed sensitive information that has made him and the organization many enemies.