LONDON, Sept 3: Britain wants to resume talks with Ecuador and find a diplomatic solution to the standoff over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as soon as possible, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday.

Addressing parliament, Hague also said Assange could not be extradited from Sweden to a third country without Britain's consent, which would not be given if there was a prospect of a death sentence being imposed.

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.

The 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.

“We wish to continue our dialogue with the government of Ecuador,” Hague said in a written statement to parliament.

“We believe that our two countries should be able to find a diplomatic solution.

“We have invited the government of Ecuador to resume, as early as possible, the discussions we have held on this matter to date.”

Hague said London had fully addressed Quito's concerns about Assange's human rights and fears of onward extradition.—AFP


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