The UK Government has stressed to Ecuador that it is under an obligation to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden, where he faces questioning over sex crimes claims.
Yesterday Foreign Secretary William Hague held talks with Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino in New York, where ministers have gathered this week for a United Nations meeting.
Mr Assange has been in Ecuador’s London embassy since June as part of his bid to avoid extradition to Sweden.
He fears being sent to the United States if he travels to Sweden, to face interrogation over the whistle-blowing website.
He has been granted political asylum by Ecuador but faces arrest if he leaves the embassy after breaking bail conditions.
The Foreign Secretary’s spokesman said: “On the case of Mr Julian Assange, the Foreign Secretary told Minister Patino that the UK was under an obligation to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden.
“The concept of ‘diplomatic asylum’, while well-established in Latin America, did not feature in UK law.
“Both ministers agreed that they were committed to the search for a diplomatic solution to Mr Assange’s case.
“They were willing to meet again at this level in due course to continue these exchanges.”