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Swedish pact sought in Assange impasse

Swedish pact sought in Assange impasse

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As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepares to make a public statement, sources close to him today said that an assurance by Sweden that he would not be extradited to the United States could be a way out of the current impasse over his extradition.

Assange faces allegations of sexual offences in Sweden, where Britain is committed to extradite him after all legal avenues in this country were exhausted.

Assange today completed two months holed up in the Ecuador embassy in London (he went in on 19 June).

Kristinn Hrafnsson, the only person other than Assange who is authorised by WikiLeaks to be a first point of contact for receiving sensitive information, is quoted in the Sunday Times as saying: "If the Swedish authorities give an assurance there won't be an extradition and the UK authorities as well, that might go a long way in being a basis of negotiations".

Assange is expected to make a statement in the afternoon today from balcony of the Ecuador embassy. So far Assange has offered to answer questions from Swedish investigators in London.

He is wanted in Sweden to answer accusations of rape and sexual assault.

Assange, who denies the claims, fears that once he is there the United States will seek his extradition for publishing 251,287 leaked US embassy cables.

Britain has refused safe passage to Assange after Ecuador last week granted him 'diplomatic asylum', which is not recognised by Britain.

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