Ecuador minister meets Wikileaks founder Assange in London

Julian Assange and Ecuador's Foreign minister, Ricardo Patino. Julian Assange and Ecuador's Foreign minister, Ricardo Patino met at the London embassy

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Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, has met the founder of the Wikileaks website, Julian Assange, at his country's embassy in London.

Mr Assange, who has been living in the building for a year was "in good spirits" despite the "limitations of his accommodations", Mr Patino said.

The Wikileaks founder has been granted political asylum by Ecuador, but will be arrested if he leaves the building.

He is wanted for questioning over two sexual assault allegations in Sweden.

But Mr Assange denies the claims and fears he will be handed over to the US authorities, who are investigating Wikileaks for publishing confidential US diplomatic documents.

'Cast iron assurances'

Mr Patiño will discuss Julian Assange's case with UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague on Monday.

"I was able to say face to face to him, for the first time, that the government of Ecuador remains firmly committed to protecting his human rights and that we continue to seek cast iron assurances to avoid any onward extradition to a third state," Ecuador's Foreign minister said.

Mr Assange said he was "immensely grateful" for the support shown by the Ecuadorian president and the people of Ecuador.

The Wikileaks founder arrived at the Ecuadorean embassy in the Knightsbridge area of London a year ago on Wednesday, after the UK Supreme Court refused to reopen his appeal against extradition.

The British government has spent about £3m on police officers to guard the embassy around the clock.

A UK Foreign Office spokesman 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."

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