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Assange urges countries to offer Snowden asylum

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has called for countries to step forward to offer asylum to National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Mr Assange said in a statement: "A few weeks ago, Edward Snowden blew the whistle on an ongoing programme - involving the Obama administration, the intelligence community and the internet services giants - to spy on everyone in the world.

Julian Assange speaks to the media inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London
Julian Assange speaks to the media inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

"As if by clockwork, he has been charged with espionage by the Obama administration.

"The US Government is spying on each and every one of us, but it is Edward Snowden who is charged with espionage for tipping us off.

"Let's be very careful about who we call 'traitor'. Edward Snowden is one of us.

"Tell your governments to step forward. Step forward and stand with Snowden".

Assange will not leave embassy if charges are dropped

Ecuador's foreign minister Ricardo Patino (right) meeting with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy. Credit: PA Wire

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has revealed he will not leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London even if sex charges against him are dropped, because he fears moves are already under way to extradite him to the US.

The disclosure was made on the first anniversary of his arrival at the embassy in a bid to avoid being sent to the US to be quizzed about the leaking of sensitive information to his whistle-blowing website.

He said: "The strong view of my US lawyer is that there is already a sealed indictment which means I would be arrested, unless the British government gave information or guarantees that would grant me safe passage.

"We know there is an ongoing investigation in the US and we know I am a target of the Federal grand jury. There is a 99.97% chance that I will be indicted.

"So if the Swedish government drops their request (to go to Sweden) tomorrow, I still cannot leave the embassy.

"My lawyers have advised me I should not leave the embassy because of the risk of arrest and extradition to the US."

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Britain and Ecuador 'make no breakthrough' on Assange

The Foreign Office said William Hague met his Ecuadorian counterpart to discuss the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been granted political asylum inside the Ecuadorian embassy, but that no "breakthrough" had been made.

A statement said:

Foreign Secretary [William Hague] and Foreign Minister PatiƱo agreed to keep channels of communication open, but made no breakthrough on Julian Assange.

The two ministers held a bilateral meeting this morning for 45 minutes.

Ministers agreed that officials should establish a working group to find a diplomatic solution to the issue of Julian Assange, but no substantive progress was made.

The Foreign Secretary was clear once again that any resolution would need to be within the laws of the United Kingdom.

– Foreign Office

Assange is wanted for questioning over two sexual assault allegations in Sweden and will be arrested if he leaves the embassy building.

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Hague to discuss Assange future

Ecuador's foreign minister Ricardo Patino (right) meets WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Credit: PA Wire

Ecuador's foreign minister will meet Foreign Secretary William Hague today to discuss the future of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Ricardo Patino said Mr Assange was in "good spirits" despite the "limitations" of his accommodation inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been since June 19 last year.

The WikiLeaks founder is wanted for questioning in Sweden over sex allegations by two women - which he denies - but fears being extradited to the United States if he goes to Sweden.

Ecuadorean foreign minister: Assange in 'good spirits'

Ecuador's foreign minister tonight met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside the embassy where the Australian has been staying for the past year.

The Ecuadorean Embassy in central London
The Ecuadorean Embassy in central London Credit: REUTERS/Paul Hackett

Ricardo Patino said Mr Assange was in "good spirits" despite the "limitations" of his accommodation inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Mr Patino added that the Ecuadorean government remains "firmly committed to protecting his human rights" and that it is seeking "cast iron assurances to avoid any onward extradition".

Mr Assange has been living inside the embassy since 19 June last year. He is wanted for questioning in Sweden over sex allegations by two women - which he denies - but fears being extradited to the United States if he leaves.

Ecuadorian minister to meet Julian Assange at embassy

Julian Assange pictured on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in December last year.
Julian Assange pictured on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in December last year. Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

A senior Ecuadorian minister will make a brief visit to the UK ahead of talks over the future of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, is due to meet Mr Assange at the country's embassy later today, before holding talks with Foreign Secretary William Hague tomorrow.

The Australian has been inside the embassy since June 19 last year and has since been granted political asylum.

Julian Assange: 'Edward Snowden is a hero'

Edward Snowden is a hero who has informed the public about one of the most serious events of the decade, which is the creeping formulation of a mass surveillance state.

What other countries need to do is line up and give their support to him. Everyone should go to their local politicians and press and demand they step forward and offer Mr Snowden asylum in their country. It will be telling to see which countries genuinely protect human rights and genuinely protect the privacy of the public.

– Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, speaking to Sky News
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