Foreign secretary meets Ecuadorean vice-president in attempt to find diplomatic solution to case of WikiLeaks founder
William Hague, the foreign secretary, has held talks with Ecuador’s vice-president Lenin Moreno as the deadlock over the status of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange continued. Ecuador has granted political asylum to Assange, who is staying at the London embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces sexual offence allegations.
The Australian activist will be arrested and extradited if he steps outside the building after jumping bail. A Foreign Office spokesman said the UK and Ecuador would continue attempts to find a “diplomatic solution” to the stand-off.
Ecuador claims that Britain has threatened to enter the embassy and detain 41-year-old Assange in a move that would violate diplomatic conventions. Britain has warned that it can legally enter the embassy and arrest Assange under the 1987 Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act, but Hague has said there is no intention to “storm” the building.
Hague met Moreno in the Foreign Office as the vice-president visited the UK for the Paralympics and the pair talked about the Games and the rights of those with disabilities. A Foreign Office spokesman said: “They also discussed the situation regarding Mr Julian Assange’s presence in the embassy of Ecuador in London. They confirmed the UK and Ecuador’s commitment to dialogue to find a diplomatic solution to the matter.”