18 Aug 2012

''Amicable solution'' sought to crisis

8:00 am on 18 August 2012

Britain says it wants an "amicable solution" to the diplomatic crisis over Wikileaks founder Julian Assange who has been granted political asylum by Ecuador.

The Foreign Office says temperatures on both sides need to be cool down.

Mr Assange took refuge at Ecuador's embassy in London in June as he faced extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims, which he denies.

Ecuador announced on Thursday it had granted Mr Assange asylum, saying that his human rights might be violated if he is sent to Sweden.

Britain has said it will not allow him safe passage out of the country but Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino of Ecuador said he hoped talks with the UK would "overcome this".

Mr Assange, 41, an Australian citizen, has said the accusations against him were politically motivated.

The BBC reports Ecuador is looking for guarantees that after any trial in Sweden, there would be no further extradition, and for safeguards over how Mr Assange would be held in Sweden.

In a statement issued after the Ecuadorean decision to grant Mr Assange political asylum, Foreign

Secretary William Hague said Britain was under a "binding obligation" to extradite him to Sweden.

Foreign Minister Carl Bildt of Sweden said his country would not be lectured by Ecuador.