AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
QUITO: A decision on the fate of Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be made within 24 hours, Ecuador's deputy foreign minister Marco Albuja said on Thursday.
"The national government is considering its position and the president will give us his instructions tomorrow," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Assange is seeking political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, having walked into the building on Tuesday in a dramatic bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted over alleged sex crimes.
Police have warned he will be arrested if he leaves because he has breached his bail conditions.
The request for asylum came after Britain's Supreme Court last week rejected an application by Assange to reopen his appeal against extradition, effectively closing his last legal avenue in Britain,
Assange denies the allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two female former WikiLeaks volunteers and maintains the moves to send him to Sweden are politically motivated.
The 40-year-old, who has accused Australia of abandoning him, believes the ultimate aim is for him to be handed over to US authorities, which he claims wants to try him for divulging American secrets.
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr dismissed concerns that Washington was seeking to extradite him.
"There has been no hint of an American interest in doing this," he told the ABC.
"If the US were pursuing extradition of Julian Assange they could do it just as easily -- according to some experts more easily -- from the United Kingdom... than from Sweden."
Carr added that the Australian high commissioner in London had spoken to the Ecuadorian embassy.
"Throughout this we've given him the sort of consular support that flows to any Australian in trouble in a foreign jurisdiction," he said,.
"Bear in mind his argument is with the government of Sweden which wants to extradite him, to question him about allegations of sexual assault.
"It's not about politics, and has nothing to do with the release of classified material."
WikiLeaks enraged Washington by releasing a flood of classified US information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables that embarrassed a series of governments.