Ecuador minister arrives in UK for Assange talks

From BBC News:

Julian Assange
Julian Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for a year

Ecuador’s foreign minister is due to arrive in the UK for talks with his British counterpart over the situation of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Mr Assange has been granted political asylum by Ecuador but will be arrested by British authorities if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Ricardo Patino will visit Mr Assange later and meet William Hague on Monday.

Mr Assange is wanted in Sweden where he faces sexual assault allegations by two women, claims he denies.

He 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.

Degree of flexibility

The UK has insisted it will not allow Mr Assange out of the country without police officers arresting him for breaking bail conditions.

The Australian national fears he will be extradited to the US if he is sent to Sweden.

Wikileaks is being investigated by US authorities for publishing thousands of confidential military documents.

Mr Patino said he hoped his visit would help to move the situation forward and Mr Hague would show a degree of flexibility.

A 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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