Julian Assange meets with Ecuador’s foreign minister in London

Julian Assange & Richard Patino
Julian Assange & Richard Patino
Julian Assange & Richard Patino

Ecuador’s foreign minister has met with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Richard Patino is in London for talks on the fate of Mr Assange, who has been taking refuge inside the Ecuadorian embassy for almost a year.

Mr Assange, 41, took refuge at the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations.

Ecuador has granted the Australian national asylum, but he is likely to be arrested by British police if he leaves the embassy.

Mr Patino’s meeting with Mr Assange came as he prepared for a meeting today with his British counterpart William Hague to discuss a possible solution to the year-long diplomatic stand-off over Mr Assange.

British authorities have insisted they will not allow the Wikileaks founder out of the country, and say they will hand him over to Swedish police if he leaves the embassy.

Ecuador’s deputy foreign minister Macro Albuja, speaking from the country’s capital Quito, said the stand-off had tested ties between the two countries.

“[They] really reached a critical point [last August] when there was an inappropriate threat to invade Ecuadoran territory, violating the diplomatic legation, seeking Mr Assange’s capture,” he told AFP.

“At no time has Ecuador sought to defy the English or Swedish justice system.

“From the beginning we have said that Mr Assange should face trial. But of course what is being requested is that he not be extradited to a third country where the death penalty is an option and as such his life could be endangered.”