Sweden could drop case says Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could remain holed up inside Ecuador's embassy in London for a year, he has predicted.

The 41-year-old Australian, who faces arrest and extradition to Sweden over alleged sexual offences if he sets foot outside the building in Knightsbridge, insisted that he believes the case against him will be dropped.

In a TV interview broadcast in Ecuador, Assange said he believed it would take between "six and 12 months" for the issue to be resolved.

His comments follow Foreign Secretary William Hague's admission that "a solution is not in sight" to the row which has strained diplomatic relations with the South American country.

Assange was granted asylum by Ecuador after seeking sanctuary in the country's diplomatic mission in June.

In an interview inside the embassy, he told Telesur he believed the issue "will be solved through diplomacy", the BBC reported.

Assange added: "The Swedish government could drop the case. I think this is the most likely scenario. Maybe after a thorough investigation of what happened they could drop the case. I think this will be solved in between six and 12 months. That's what I estimate."

Ecuador has claimed that Britain threatened to storm its embassy after Foreign Office officials highlighted available powers to enter the building and make the arrest, an assertion strenuously denied by Mr Hague.

The Foreign Secretary said: "This may go on for a long time so we are not making a threat against the embassy of Ecuador."

While talks aimed at finding a way of ending the stand-off would continue, he added: "Given Ecuador's position on what they call diplomatic asylum and our very clear legal position, such a solution is not in sight at the moment."