The Foreign Office was tightlipped on Saturday over a proposal from Ecuador that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be transferred from London to Sweden but stay under Quito’s protection.
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said he was weighing such a transfer as a possible alternative for Assange to “remain under our protection while also satisfying the demands of the Swedish justice system.”
Assange took shelter in the Ecuadoran embassy in London in June after exhausting all appeals against extradition from Britain to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations.
Ecuador has granted him diplomatic asylum.
Patino hinted to “new” developments in the Swedish case, saying “several elements of proof have been dismissed,” though he declined to provide further details.
In a sign that diplomatic moves are afoot in the Assange case, Patino said he planned to discuss the issue with his British counterpart William Hague on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday.
In London, the Foreign Office refused to be drawn on the Ecuadoran proposal.
A spokesman said: “We’ve made our position very clear on Mr Assange, mainly that he has exhausted the option of appeal and we are under a binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden and we have to carry out this obligation and we fully intend to do so.”
Assange, a 41-year-old Australian, fears Sweden will hand him over to the United States, where he could face prosecution over the release of a vast cache of leaked Iraq and Afghanistan war reports and diplomatic cables.