LONDON (AFP) - Britain told Ecuador's re-elected President Rafael Correa on Monday that it remains committed to finding a diplomatic solution to the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in Britain for eight months as he seeks to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault, creating a stand-off between Quito and London.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague issued a statement on Monday hailing Ecuador's "successful" presidential elections, in which Correa won a second term in office.
"I congratulate the people of Ecuador and President Correa on their successful elections, and welcome the high turnout and the peaceful atmosphere on election day," Mr Hague said.
"The UK and Ecuador have a valuable bilateral relationship and we look forward to further work with the Ecuadoran government across a range of areas." Hague added: "The UK remains fully committed to seeking a diplomatic solution with the Ecuadoran government to secure Julian Assange's extradition to Sweden." Speaking on Sunday night after declaring victory in the Ecuadoran election, Mr Correa called on "Europe" to settle the fate of the Australian former computer hacker.
"It's a diplomatic situation for which a solution must be found... as quickly as possible," Mr Correa told reporters.
Assange fled to Ecuador's embassy in June after losing his battle in the British courts against extradition to Sweden. Ecuador granted him asylum in August but Britain has refused to allow him safe passage.
Assange founded the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy website that enraged Washington by releasing cables and war logs relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the biggest security breach in US history.