A planned announcement by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London has been deferred on the advice of his legal counsel, following the agreement of an "imminent meeting" with British authorities.

Mr Assange was due to make a speech this afternoon, marking the fifth anniversary of his arrival at the embassy.

As scores of his supporters and media gathered outside the building, it emerged that he was not going ahead with the speech.

"Mr Assange's legal team remain optimistic that a satisfactory outcome can be found which respects the British legal process and restores Mr Assange's freedom and dignity," a statement on his behalf said.

Melinda Taylor, of Mr Assange's legal team, told the Press Association: "We have been given confirmation that there will be a meeting with the British authorities.

"We hope that will be soon. We don't want to prejudice that meeting because we need this impasse to be resolved.

"There is no legal reason to keep Julian here."