Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said on Friday that Ecuador may ask Britain to transfer Julian Assange to Sweden for questioning, under its protection.
Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June 19, when he applied for asylum in that country. He has since been granted diplomatic asylum in Ecuador, but cannot leave the embassy, as the UK will not grant him safe passage to leave the country. Britain still wishes to extradite him to Sweden for questioning on alleged sex charges, which Assange denies, and for which he has not been charged.
Concern has been raised that should he be extradited to Sweden, he would then be passed on by that country to the US, who wish to try him for espionage for the release of sensitive diplomatic cables which have angered and embarrassed that country.
Patiño told local media in Ecuador on Friday that in order to end the stalemate over Assange, Ecuador has suggested "that his statement be taken in our embassy in London or that Ecuador get authorization to transfer him, if necessary, to our embassy in Sweden so that the case can proceed there under the protection of Ecuador and meeting the needs of Swedish justice system."
Patiño further mentioned that "there are developments in Sweden in that some evidence has been discarded," referring to the recent news that a condom which is evidence in the case was tested in Sweden for DNA, and was found not to contain Assange's DNA .
The Ecuadorian Foreign Minister also expects "sit down and talk" with his British counterpart William Hague next week in New York, during the United Nations General Assembly, "and properly resume talks on the subject that is pending."
"The agenda is open. We are confident that it is possible, between democratic governments of the world, to chat and find a diplomatic resolution," said Patiño.
Patiño said that for the moment, bringing up the matter in the International Court of Justice in the Hague has been shelved, but depending on the outcome of talks, Ecuador may resort to this action to resolve the situation.
As yet, there has been no reaction from the British government.