Wikileaks founder Julian Assange denied diplomatic status by UK

Julian Assange has been at the embassy for over five years

Ecuador has confirmed that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has become a citizen of the country.

Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Ecuador's foreign minister, said, "We're considering and exploring the possibility of a mediation".

Ecuador has granted citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living in asylum at the nation's embassy in London for more than five years.

He was granted asylum there in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape allegations.

He fears that if arrested by UK authorities they he will be extradited to the United States whose government is looking to prosecute Assange for publishing thousands of US classified military and diplomatic documents via his Wikileaks page.

Ms Espinosa said Ecuador had granted Assange citizenship while it looked for a "dignified" solution to his situation with Britain.

Assange is committed to not "intervening in issues non-related with his asylum condition", as requested by Ecuadorian government, the statement continued.

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

Ecuador's left-wing president Lenin Moreno, who took office in May, has been less friendly toward Assange than his predecessor Rafael Correa.

While Swedish officials dropped their investigation into a rape claim involving Assange, the United Kingdom has repeatedly said that he would be arrested by police for breaking a prior bail condition should he step outside the embassy. Mr Assange is unlawfully and arbitrarily detained by the United Kingdom authorities and must be released.

Although Swedish authorities have since dropped their extradition warrant, British officials have signaled their intent on arresting him if he leaves Ecuador's diplomatic compound in London. The Ecuadorean government has since insisted that "nothing has happened". Were he to step one foot outside the embassy walls, he would find himself handcuffed and bundled away by the Metropolitan Police.

WikiLeaks starts releasing more than 250,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables, revealing frank assessments of United States officials as well as the views of other governments.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, responding to a reporter's question in April about whether arresting Assange was a priority, said it was.

December 21, 2017: Ecuador allegedly issue Assange with a passport.

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