Britain has refused a request by Ecuador for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be given diplomatic status, a spokesman for Britain’s Foreign Office said, Reuters reports.
Assange has been holed up for more than five years in the Ecuador embassy in London where he was granted asylum in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape allegations.
“The government of Ecuador recently requested diplomatic status for Mr Assange here in the UK,” the spokesman said. “The UK did not grant that request, nor are we in talks with Ecuador on this matter.”
“Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice,” the spokesman said.
In May, Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation into the rape allegations, but British police have said Assange would still be arrested for breaching bail conditions if he left the embassy.
Assange’s name has appeared in an Ecuador government database of citizen identification numbers, fuelling speculation that he may have received citizenship from the Andean country.