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Julian Assange 'faces up to year in Ecuador embassy'

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Julian Assange has said that he expects to remain inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London for up to a year as he continues to fight extradition to Sweden.

The Wikileaks founder has been granted political asylum by the South American country, but faces arrest by British police if he leaves the embassy.

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks makes a statement from a balcony of the Ecuador Embassy in London, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012

© Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/Press Association Images

Julian Assange

Police outside the Ecuadorian embassy on August 15, 2012. Julian Assange is thought to be staying here, as he seeks political asylum in Ecuador.

© PA Images / Yui Mok / PA Wire



The UK government has said that Ecuador's move to grant asylum does not change its obligation to extradite him to Sweden, where authorities want to question him over sexual assault allegations.

In an interview broadcast in Ecuador and reported by BBC News, Assange said that he expects to remain in the embassy in London for "six to 12 months".

Speaking on Telesur television from inside the embassy, Assange said that he believes the situation "will be solved through diplomacy".

"The Swedish government could drop the case. I think this is the most likely scenario. Maybe after a thorough investigation of what happened they could drop the case," he said.

"I think this will be solved in between six and 12 months. That's what I estimate."

But asked about a resolution to Assange's extradition row, UK foreign secretary William Hague said that there was "no solution in sight".

The former computer hacker's Wikileaks website hit the headlines after it published thousands of leaked diplomatic cables involving various countries, most notably including the US.

He has been sheltering inside the Ecuador embassy since June over fears that should he go to Sweden, he will be handed onto authorities in America.

Ecuador claimed that Britain had made threats to storm the embassy - which is Ecuador's sovereign territory - to arrest Assange under a 1987 law. But the UK denied making such a threat.

Speaking to the BBC yesterday, Hague said that Britain was not threatening to enter the embassy and would instead look to find an "amicable solution".

He added: "Given Ecuador's position on what they call diplomatic asylum and our very clear legal position, such a solution is not in sight at the moment."

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