As reported in The Guardian, foreign secretary William Hague said it was a “matter of regret” that the government of Ecuador had decided to offer asylum to Assange after Britain offered assurances.

Assange sought the protection of the Ecuadorean embassy in London in June, as Britain wants to extradite the controversial Wikileaks founder to Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Quito granted him asylum on the grounds that if he was extradited from Sweden to the US, he could face the death penalty for his role in publishing hundreds of thousands of leaked US government documents on the Wikileaks site.

Hague said: “Both the United Kingdom and Sweden are signatories to the European convention on human rights and the British government has complete confidence in the independence and fairness of the Swedish judicial system. As we have discussed with the government of Ecuador, the United Kingdom and Sweden robustly implement and adhere to the highest standards of human rights protection.

“The suggestion that Mr Assange’s human rights would be put at risk by the possibility of onward extradition from Sweden to a third country is also without foundation. Not only would Sweden – as a signatory to the European convention on human rights – be required to refuse extradition in circumstances which would breach his human rights, but the authorities in Sweden would also be legally obliged to seek the United Kingdom’s consent before any extradition to a non-EU member state could proceed.”

The foreign secretary said he regretted that Ecuador decided to grant asylum to Assange in spite of the fact officials had explained these guarantees to Quito.