UK Minister dares Assange to leave embassy
JULIAN Assange is facing "serious charges" and can expect a "warm welcome" from British police if he walks out of the Ecuadorean embassy, according to UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The Wikileaks founder has been holed up in the embassy in London since 2012 in fear of possible charges being brought against him by US authorities.
"He is free to walk out of the doors of the Ecuadorean embassy any time he wishes," Mr Hunt said.
"This is a country that respects rule of law, you are innocent until proven guilty.
"Serious charges have been laid against him and we want him to face justice for those charges but we are a country of due process.
"At any time he wants to he is free to walk out onto the street of Knightsbride and the British police will have a warm welcome for him."
Charges against Mr Assange in Sweden have been dropped and he is facing only a minor charge in the UK for failing to turn up to a court hearing.
It is unknown what "serious charges" Mr Hunt was referring to.
It comes as an Ecuadorean minister told local media that the country was in the process of negotiating with the UK to break the diplomatic deadlock.
Speaking alongside Mr Hunt, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the government was offering Mr Assange consular support.
"The Australian Government has provided consular support and will continue to do so as is required," she said.
"We understand there are still matters where Mr Assange is subject to British legal proceedings so therefore that would be a matter of British law enforcement authorities and agencies."