Ecuador Says Latest Attempt to End Assange Impasse Has FailedBy
WikiLeaks founder granted citizenship, foreign minister says
Ecuador hopes Britain will accept mediation to solve stand-off
Ecuador’s decision to grant citizenship to Julian Assange and subsequent attempt to register him as a diplomat has failed to solve a five-year stand off with British authorities over the founder of WikiLeaks.
Assange remains holed up at Ecuador’s embassy in London after the U.K. government refused to recognize his diplomatic status, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa told a news conference in Quito Thursday.
"On December 20, the Foreign Ministry via its embassy in London requested the British Foreign Office consider accrediting Mr. Assange as a diplomatic agent in Ecuador’s mission in the United Kingdom,” Espinosa said. “This petition was declined on December 21."
Espinosa confirmed that Ecuador had granted Assange citizenship a day after he tweeted a photo of himself wearing the yellow jersey of the country’s soccer team following more than five and a half years at the London embassy. The Latin American nation is now looking for alternative ways to resolve the impasse.
"Ecuador is currently exploring other forms of resolution, of course, amid a dialogue with the United Kingdom, for example through mediation,” Espinosa said.
The U.K. insists that Assange face justice for skipping bail following allegations of sex crimes in Sweden. Those original allegations have since been dropped. WikiLeaks said that by staying as long as he had in the embassy, he had served more than 14 times the maximum sentence under U.K. law.