Britain rejects request to grant diplomatic status to Julian Assange

Ecuadoran President Lenin Moreno has been infuriated by Assange's criticism of his political allies abroad

Ecuadoran President Lenin Moreno has been infuriated by Assange's criticism of his political allies abroad

The Wikileaks founder has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, when he was faced with extradition to Sweden for allegedly sexually assaulting two women.

The nation's foreign minister announced Thursday that officials had chose to permit Assange's naturalization while they look for ways to resolve his situation.

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy located in Knightsbridge, central London for almost six years after claiming diplomatic asylum in June 2012 after being wanted by Swedish prosecutors for questioning over various alleged sexual offences.

Swedish prosecutors dropped their probe into the allegations but British police said Assange would be arrested for breaching bail conditions if he left the embassy.

Responding to the UK's refusal to grant him diplomatic status, Ecuador's foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said: "No solution will be achieved without worldwide co-operation and the co-operation of the United Kingdom, which has also shown interest in seeking a way out".

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.

FILE PHOTO: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017. Though the charges were ultimately dropped, Assange continued to stay at the embassy over fears he would be extradited to the U.S. in connection with WikiLeaks' release of military files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Though protected by Ecuador, the relationship between Assange and nation's leaders has at times been dicey.

"Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice", the spokesperson added. Following the publication of the information, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would not respond to "rumors, distorted or circumstantial information" on the Assange case. Assange later taunted after Lasso's loss that he would "cordially invite Lasso to leave Ecuador within 30 days".

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