‘Progress possible’ in stand-off over Assange

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William Hague has urged Ecuador to resume talks “as early as possible” over the fate of Wiki-
Leaks founder Julian Assange.

The Foreign Secretary, in an update on the case to MPs, said he believed a diplomatic solution could be found to the stand-off.

It was “a matter of regret” that the South American country had granted asylum to Mr Assange – who has been holed up in its London embassy since June.

The 41-year-old Australian faces arrest and extradition to Sweden over alleged sexual offences if he sets foot outside the building in Knightsbridge,

In a recent TV interview broadcast in Ecuador, Mr Assange said he believed it would take between six and 12 months for the issue to be resolved.

Mr Hague said last week that “a solution is not in sight” to the row which has strained diplomatic relations with the South American country.

But in a written statement to the Commons, Mr Hague expressed hope that progress could be made

Any suggestion that extradition to Sweden posed a risk to Mr Assange’s human rights was “completely unfounded” and had been “comprehensively rejected” by UK courts, he said.

Ecuador has also been assured that fears Mr Assange could be extradited on to the US from Sweden and face the death penalty were “without foundation”, Mr Hague noted.

And he repeated that the UK was not “threatening” the Ecuadorian embassy and would fully abide by the 1961 Vienna Convention.