Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño met with UK Foreign Secretary William Hague during the UN General Assembly. Patiño says that Britain now recognizes that due to Assange's asylum status with Ecuador, he cannot be extradited to Sweden.
Patiño and Hague met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Thursday. A summary of the talks held between the two officials is that Patiño says he has received written confirmation from Britain that the country recognizes the validity of its 1880 extradition treaty with Ecuador. Under this agreement a person, like Assange, who has been granted political asylum in Ecuador, cannot be extradited to a third country.
However he did state that high-level talks will continue as the UK is still apparently determined to find a diplomatic way to do so.
During the meeting, Patiño reminded Hague that Assange is currently under Ecuador's jurisdiction and asserted his country's determination to protect him. Both ministers have agreed to hold a further meeting, but in the meantime Hague has requested Patiño and the Ecuador government to “study closely” the UK extradition law, which he said provides “extensive human rights safeguards.”
A UK Foreign Office spokesman said that, “The concept of 'diplomatic asylum,' while well-established in Latin America, did not feature in UK law.”
“On the case of Mr. Julian Assange, the foreign secretary told Minister Patiño that the UK was under an obligation to extradite Mr. Assange to Sweden,” he added.
Assange gave a speech via a video link to the United Nations General Assembly, where he said that neither the UK nor Sweden had so far guaranteed that he would not be extradited to the US, where both he and WikiLeaks have been officially declared "enemies of the state."
Assange has been ensconced in Ecuador's embassy in London since June of this year and despite having been granted asylum by that country, he is still in danger of being arrested should he leave the embassy, as the UK will not grant him safe passage.
It is currently unknown when the two foreign ministers will meet again on the subject.