Ecuador confirms it granted citizenship to Assange

Ecuador confirms it granted citizenship to Assange

Ecuador confirms it granted citizenship to Assange

Britain's Foreign Office has rejected a request (Guardian) from the Ecuadorian government to grant diplomatic status to Julian Assange, a possible attempt to break the stalemate over the WikiLeaks founder who has been living in the nation's London embassy for more than five years.

Ecuador's Foreign Minister, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, certainly seems keen to have Mr Assange out of the embassy.

Assange, who is Australian, first sought refuge at the embassy more than five years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced an investigation over rape allegations.

However, he continues to fear extradition to the USA and he faces arrest for breaching bail conditions if he steps outside onto British soil.

"The government of Ecuador recently requested diplomatic status for Mr Assange here in the United Kingdom", a Foreign & Commonwealth Office spokesperson told The Guardian.

The Wikileaks founder has been claiming political asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012. He added that, as the South American authorities know, the only way for Assange to resolve is to leave the embassy and face the court.

Records showed that the documents had been delivered to Mr Assange on December 21, the newspaper said.

The Foreign Ministry reiterates that in the case of citizen Julian Assange will continue to seek solutions, in strict adherence to the norms and procedures of global law, in coordination with the United Kingdom, a country with which the best relations of friendship and cooperation are maintained.

Ecuador's newly elected president Lenin Moreno has warned Assange that he must respect asylum conditions and refrain from getting involved in the affairs of other countries.

Also on Wednesday, Assange posted a photo of himself wearing a jersey for the Ecuadorian Football Federation.

A United Nations panel ruled in 2016 that he was being "arbitrarily detained" and should be allowed to walk free.

The UK could agree not arrest him and permit his transfer to an airport so he can be flown to Quito.

But previous year, the Australian, 46, angered Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno by tweeting support for Catalan separatists.

He also said that the risk of Assange being prosecuted in the USA has increased "in recent months under the Trump administration's war on WikiLeaks".

This sparks speculation that Assange is about to end his self-imposed exile.

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