Assange bid for diplomatic status denied

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The country said Tuesday that it was looking for a third-party mediator who could broker a deal to allow Assange to leave the embassy.

Julian Assange obtained worldwide protection in August 2012 from the Ecuadorian Government at the time.

Assange has been holed up for more than five years in the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he was granted asylum in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape allegations. He sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and today police have said he will still face arrest if he leaves.

It comes soon after the UK's Foreign Office rejected Ecuador's attempt to grant Assange - who is Australian by birth - diplomatic status.

Julian Assange was likely granted an Ecuadorian ID card that might be paving the way for a passport, fueling theories that he might be leaving the London embassy soon.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange addresses the media from the balcony of Ecuador's London embassy.

Swedish prosecutors dropped the rape investigation in May previous year, but Assange still faces arrest by British police on a charge of skipping bail if he leaves.

Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said officials accepted Assange's request for naturalization in December, and they continue to look for a long-term resolution to a situation that has vexed officials since 2012.

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Per The Guardian, Ecuadorian officials made the request in hopes that if Assange was certified as one of their diplomats - reports indicate he already has Ecuadorian citizenship - he could finally leave the embassy without fear of being arrested for violating United Kingdom bail conditions by fleeing there in the first place.

Assange, 46, has previously expressed concern that if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London he could end up being extradited to the U.S., where he fears facing the death penalty over allegations of revealing government secrets through WikiLeaks.

A statement by Mr Assange's legal team said: 'The UN ruling, issued nearly two years ago, is crystal clear in its language.

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

Assange faces both criminal and congressional investigations in the United States.

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

The Swedish prosecutors halted the case against Assange in September 2017.