Ecuadorian ambassador flies home for Assange talks

Ecuador's ambassador to the UK has flown back to her home country for high-level talks on the status of Julian Assange.

The Wikileaks founder asked for asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy last week, as he appealed for vocal US critic president Rafael Correa to protect him from extradition to Sweden, where he fears the US state department will try to acquire him.

"Ecuador presently finds itself in a unique situation and it is important that those responsible making the final decision on Mr Assange's application are fully briefed on all aspects of the present situation," a spokesperson for the Ecuadorian embassy said.

Anna Alban will meet the president in the country's capital, Quito, where she will personally brief him on the Assange application. She will also hold a series of meetings at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The reaction of president Correa is particularly significant. He struck up a friendship with Mr Assange during an interview for the Australian's Russia Today programme recently.

President Correa is part of the group of left-wing leaders in the US – including Bolivian president Evo Morales and Venezualan leader Hugo Chavez – whose difficult relationship with the US means they can act as safe havens against any US attempt to have the Wikileaks founder charged due to his release of sensitive diplomatic cables in 2010.

But critics are unsure how Mr Assange would actually make it to Ecuador even if he is granted amnesty. British police plan to arrest him for breaking bail conditions if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy. Even giving him an Ecuadorian passport would not work, because it might allow law enforcement to enter the building.