Ecuador and UK plan fresh talks over Assange

The foreign ministers of the two countries will meet in New York on Thursday to discuss the Wikileaks founder's case. One option Ecuador may propose would be for Assange to be given safe passage directly to the Ecuadorian embassy in Stockholm.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

The foreign ministers of Ecuador and the UK will meet later this week to discuss breaking the impasse over Julian Assange, with Ecuador set to propose transferring the Wikileaks founder to Sweden without anyone arresting him.

The meeting will take place on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly meeting in New York, Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patiño said in a tweet on Friday. The UK Foreign Office confirmed this to ZDNet on Monday.

Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden over allegations of sexual assault. Having exhausted his legal options in the UK for fighting extradition, he took refuge in Ecuador's London embassy in June and was subsequently granted political asylum — a concept not recognised by the UK.

Now it seems that Ecuador is considering moving Assange to Sweden after all, but only if he can be granted safe passage by the UK authorities and be allowed to move straight into Ecuador's Stockholm embassy.

"[A] possibility is that Ecuador can get authorisation to move him, if necessary, to our embassy in Sweden, and the process can go ahead under the protection of Ecuador and considering the requirements of the Swedish judicial process," Patiño said on Friday.

Other diplomatic options mentioned by Patiño in his television interview included allowing Assange safe passage to Ecuador, and arranging for the Swedish authorities to interview Assange in the London embassy.

The Swedes have already made clear that they do not want to make a special case for Assange. Neither does the Foreign Office, which has repeatedly said that the Wikileaks founder will be arrested as soon as he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge.

Patiño also suggested that Ecuador had not ruled out taking the Assange case to the International Court of Justice.

Assange claims that the allegations in Sweden are a ruse designed to somehow see him extradited to the US, where he may or may not face charges over the Cablegate leaks two years ago.

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