Ecuador may take Assange case to world court

Ecuador said on Tuesday it may turn to the International Court of Justice to resolve an impasse with Britain over Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder holed up since mid-2012 in Quito's London embassy.

"More than a year has passed, Mr Assange is in our diplomatic mission," Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said.

"We are seriously analyzing what we have to do in the coming months," he said in an interview aired by Gama television.

Patino said Ecuador was considering going to the International Court of Justice in the Hague after trying every diplomatic avenue to resolve the conflict.

Assange, who fears arrest by the United States for WikiLeaks' publication of a huge trove of classified US military and diplomatic documents, took refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy in London July 17, 2012 to escape extradition to Sweden.

He is wanted for questioning by Swedish authorities about allegations of sexual assault brought separately by two women.

Quito granted him diplomatic asylum August 16, 2016, but Britain has refused to extend him a safe conduct pass out of the country.

Patino said British Foreign Secretary William Hague agreed at a meeting June 17 to a commission of jurists from both countries to try to resolve the impasse.

"We have insisted in recent days that the United Kingdom name its team of professionals to find a legal, political and diplomatic solution, but so far the response has not been positive," he said.

He said London had responded to Ecuadoran proposals in the Assange case with "documents that, we regret to say, lack sufficient juridical support."

"This is absolutely unacceptable," he said.