London: The British government has told Ecuador that it was under an obligation to extradite the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of sexual assault.
"The foreign secretary said he wanted to see close and productive bilateral relations between the UK and Ecuador, including in the areas of trade and investment, higher education, and counter-narcotics co-operation," the UK Foreign Office said.
"On the case of Julian Assange, the foreign secretary told Minister Patino that the UK was under an obligation to extradite Assange to Sweden," it said.
"The concept of 'diplomatic asylum', while well-established in Latin America, did not feature in UK law," it added.
According to the Guardian, British Foreign Secretary William Hague held talks with his Ecuadorian counterpart Ricardo Patino, in New York, where ministers have gathered this week for a United Nations meeting.
"This morning I met with the foreign secretary, William Hague, where we discussed a number of issues relating to Assange. Those conversations were cordial and constructive," the paper quoted Patino, as saying.
"As a result of our talks today, myself and Hague have agreed to meet again soon to continue the dialogue that I hope will enable us to find a diplomatic solution that respects international conventions on human rights as well as respecting the integrity of sovereign nations," he added.
Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London since June 19 in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden.
He fears being sent to the U.S. to face interrogation over the whistle-blowing website.