The United States has rejected talks with WikiLeaks over its planned release of confidential US documents, saying the whistle-blower website was holding them in violation of US law.
The US State Department late Saturday set out its position in a letter to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
and his attorney that was released to the media.
"We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained US government classified materials," State Department legal adviser Harold Koh wrote.
"As you know, if any of the materials you intend to publish were provided by any government officials, or any intermediary without proper authorization, they were provided in violation of US law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action," Koh continued.
"As long as WikiLeaks holds such material, the violation of the law is ongoing."
WikiLeaks was reportedly hours away from releasing millions of confidential US diplomatic cables on Sunday as governments braced for the potential fallout. /P>
Top US officials have raced to contain the damage in recent days by warning foreign ministries in more than a dozen countries, including key allies Australia, Britain, Canada, Israel and Turkey.
An independent French website reported that the leaks would be published simultaneously at 2130 GMT Sunday by several Western newspapers.