Ecuador has urged the UK Government to drop any threat to storm its embassy so that fresh talks can be held over the future of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been inside the building for the past two months.
Officials expressed optimism that a "compromise" could be reached over Assange, who is wanted for questioning in Sweden over claims of sexual assault.
But they made clear that the 41-year-old Australian can stay inside the London embassy for "as long as it takes" to resolve his future.
"He can stay here for eight years... two centuries. However long he wants," said one official.
Meanwhile, fresh details emerged of how unprepared the Embassy was to accommodate Assange when he suddenly arrived two months ago seeking political asylum.
An air bed had to be brought from the home of the Ecuadorian Ambassador so he could sleep in one of the rooms in the ground floor of the building.
Officials insist no previous negotiations were held and said it was a "big surprise" when he arrived.
Assange was granted political asylum by the Ecuador Government a week ago, a day after it was revealed that the UK Government had warned that under a 1987 Act, it could enter the Embassy to arrest the Australian.
Officials revealed today that up to 50 police officers arrived at the Embassy after the warning, with some climbing a fire escape and one standing outside a toilet.
Staff said the situation was "tense".
At a briefing inside the Embassy today, officials said they were surprised that the UK Government had not withdrawn the threat, even though Foreign Secretary William Hague said there was no intention to "storm" the building.