Mexico City: Ecuador may ask Britain to allow the transfer of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from its embassy in London to Sweden where he could respond to sex charges against him, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said.

Assange, 41, has been hiding at the Ecuadorian Embassy since June to avoid his extradition to Sweden, where he faces a case that he calls politically motivated. Ecuador granted Assange political asylum Aug 15 but he still faces arrest the minute he steps out of the embassy building.

"We could get authorization to transfer Assange to our embassy in Sweden so that the case can proceed there with the protection of Ecuador while meeting the needs of Swedish justice," Chile's La Segunda newspaper quoted Patino as saying.

Patino said there was also an option to allow Assange to testify before Swedish prosecutors inside the embassy building in London. Assange and his supporters fear that he may be extradited from Sweden to the US, where he could face espionage charges and possible death penalty.

Assange's whistleblowing site made an enemy of the US government in 2010, when it leaked thousands of American diplomatic cables. The US has not ruled out requesting his extradition from Sweden.

Patino said he was planning to meet British Foreign Secretary William Hague in New York next week to discuss the Assange situation.

"We believe that the democratic governments will be able to discuss everything and find a diplomatic solution to this case," the Ecuadorian minister said.


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