UK Determined to Capture Stranded WikiLeaks Founder AssangeWorld | September 27, 2012, Thursday // 19:21| views
A handout picture released by the Ecuadorean Foreign Ministry shows Ecuador Chancellor Ricardo Patino (L) shaking hand with his British counterpart William Hague (R), during a meeting in New York, USA, 27 September 2012. EPA/BGNES
The UK has rejected Ecuador's request that it provide a safe passage out of the country to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been stranded in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London in hiding from the British police.
The UK is legally obliged to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden, British Foreign Secretary William Hague told his Ecuadorean counterpart Ricardo Patino in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York.
The Wikileaks founder, who is staying at Ecuador's London embassy, is wanted in Sweden for questioning over sexual assault claims, which he denies.
Ecuador is sheltering Assange under the concept of "diplomatic asylum" which did not exist in UK law, Hague said, as cited by the BBC.
He added that UK extradition law included wide human rights safeguards and "requested the government of Ecuador to study these provisions closely in considering the way ahead".
UK Foreign Secretary's spokesman added: "Both ministers agreed that they were committed to the search for a diplomatic solution to Mr Assange's case. They were willing to meet again at this level in due course to continue these exchanges." Assange, 40, has now been at Ecuador's embassy for 100 days.
In 2010, two women accused him of committing sexual offences against them while he was in Stockholm to give a lecture.
He says the sex was consensual and he regards the case as politically motivated as he fears he could be handed over the US and put on trial over Wikileaks.
His website has published leaked sensitive diplomatic cables involving various countries, including the US.
The talks between Hague and Patino came after Assange addressed a fringe meeting at the UN General Assembly via videolink from Ecuador's London embassy.
Meanwhile, US military documents that were made public indicated that the US government considered Assange an enemy of the state not unlike Al Qaeda.