UK

Julian Assange's future: UK agrees to talks with Ecuador's foreign minister

Julian Assange Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Assange has delivered speeches from the window of the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge

Foreign Secretary William Hague will discuss the future of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at a meeting with Ecuador's foreign minister, the Foreign Office has said.

Ricardo Patino offered to meet Mr Hague during a forthcoming trip to London.

Mr Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden over sexual allegations by two women - which he denies.

He has been granted political asylum by Ecuador and has been staying inside the country's embassy for almost a year.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: "We remain committed to seeking a diplomatic solution to this situation and must also ensure that our laws are followed.

"The UK has a legal obligation to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden to face questioning over allegations of sexual offences, and the British police must fulfil this.

"UK government officials have been in regular contact with representatives of the Ecuadorian government, both in London and Quito, about Mr Assange. We hope the visit will contribute to our joint commitment to finding a diplomatic solution to this issue."

Mr Assange fears that once he has been extradited to Sweden, he will be extradited again to the United States, where he could face charges over the release of top secret documents by Wikileaks.

The publication of large numbers of leaked diplomatic cables by the website has embarrassed a number of countries.

An Ecuadorean government spokesman previously said Mr Patino would be visiting London on 16 June to meet Mr Assange at the embassy on the "eve of the first anniversary of Mr Assange in our diplomatic premises".

Mr Assange entered the embassy in the Knightsbridge area of London on 19 June 2012, after the UK's Supreme Court dismissed his bid to reopen his appeal against extradition.

It had given him a two-week grace period before extradition proceedings could start.

He has been warned he will be arrested when he leaves the embassy for breaking the terms of his bail conditions following the ruling, and officers from the Metropolitan Police continue to mount a round-the-clock guard on the building.

In February, the police said the bill for the 24-hour guard stood at almost £3m.

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