Julian Assange row: Ecuador and UK to 'seek solution'

Julian Assange Image copyright AP
Image caption Julian Assange founded the whistleblowing website Wikileaks

Ecuador's foreign minister will meet UK Foreign Secretary William Hague on Thursday in a bid to "seek a solution" over Julian Assange.

The Wikileaks founder has been in Ecuador's London embassy since June, fighting extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims, which he denies.

Ecuador has granted him asylum, but he faces arrest if he leaves the building after breaking his bail conditions.

Thursday marks the 100th day since Mr Assange, 40, walked into the embassy.

His Wikileaks website has published leaked sensitive diplomatic cables involving various countries, including the US.

Mr Assange says he fears being passed on to US authorities if extradited.

'An amicable answer'

On Wednesday, an Ecuadorian embassy official confirmed Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino intended to meet Mr Hague in New York, where they are attending the United Nations general assembly.

The official said: "We hope that tomorrow's meeting will mark the beginning of a new chapter in seeking a solution to the present situation.

"For the part of the Ecuadorean government we are more than willing to find an amicable answer that respects the values of international human rights and the integrity of sovereign nations."

Wikileaks's official Twitter feed confirmed Thursday's meeting in a post, saying: "Tomorrow marks the 100th day #Assange protected by Ecuadorean embassy; Foreign Ministers of Ecuador and UK will meet on his asylum at UN."

Mr Assange is also expected to deliver a statement to the UN via satellite link from inside the embassy, following a speech by Mr Patino.

In 2010, two women accused Mr Assange of committing sexual offences against them while he was in Stockholm to give a lecture.

He says the sex was consensual and he regards the case as politically motivated.

In May, the UK Supreme Court dismissed Mr Assange's attempt to reopen his appeal against extradition and gave him a two-week grace period before extradition proceedings could start.

His bail conditions included staying at his bail address between 2200 and 0800 BST.

But in June, he entered Ecuador's embassy in Knightsbridge.

The South American country announced it had granted Mr Assange asylum on 16 August, saying his human rights could be violated if he is sent to Sweden to be questioned.

The FCO says the UK has a legal obligation to extradite him to Sweden and he will be arrested if he leaves the embassy.

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