Watch: Ecuador seeks Hammond Assange talks

0
Have your say

The Ecuador government is to try to meet new Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in a bid to break the deadlock over the future of Julian Assange.

Foreign minister Ricardo Patino said changes to the UK’s extradition laws created a better climate for reaching a deal.

Media stand outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange confirmed during a press conference that he "will be leaving the embassy soon". PIC: PA

Media stand outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange confirmed during a press conference that he "will be leaving the embassy soon". PIC: PA

He was speaking inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London where Mr Assange has been staying for the past two years.

The WikiLeaks founder brushed off incorrect reports that he was about to give up his fight against extradition to Sweden where he faces sex-related allegations. His supporters made it clear he will remain inside the embassy.

Mr Patino was visiting the embassy to mark the second anniversary of Ecuador granting political asylum to Mr Assange.

The WikiLeaks founder believes he will be extradited to the United States if he travels to Sweden.

Asked about reports that he was planning to give up, Mr Assange said his legal advisers had told him he would be leaving the embassy soon, adding: “But perhaps not for the reasons the Murdoch press and Sky News are saying.”

Scores of journalists and photographers waited outside the embassy, but if they expected Mr Assange to walk out, they were disappointed.

He spent 50 minutes sitting next to Mr Patino at a news conference before returning to the room he has been working from for the past two years.

WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson made clear the rumours of Mr Assange’s imminent departure were not true.

“The world is not coming to an end,” he told reporters inside the embassy. “The plan, as always, is to leave as soon as the UK Government decides to honour its obligations in relation to international agreements.”

Mr Hrafnsson said he did not know where the rumours reported in the British media had come from.