EFELondon

The United Kingdom has "categorically" rejected promoting "positive bilateral relationships" with Ecuador until the case of Julian Assange is resolved, Ecuador Foreign Minister Guillaume Long revealed on Monday in London.

Long expressed his "disappointment" at this position during a press conference after his meeting with Hugo Swire, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister, who raised the possibility of bilateral cooperation in trade, education and humanitarian aid fields "on the sidelines of Assange's case".

The Ecuadorian minister said he insisted on the need to promote a positive agenda between the two countries to improve humanitarian and trade cooperation, noting that the answer was "unfortunately categorical" that there will be no progress in this regard until Ecuador backtracks on granting asylum to Assange.

Relations between both countries have deteriorated since Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks website, took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London on June 19, 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden, while Ecuador granted him asylum.