Ecuador Says Latest Attempt to End Assange Impasse Has Failed

Ecuador seeks mediator to resolve 'untenable' Julian Assange standoff: Foreign minister

Julian Assange, editor and founder of Wikileaks, has been holed up in London's Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012, following a rape allegation in Sweden.

Ecuador's foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said Assange was naturalised as a citizen on 12 December, at his request.

Assange has been living in Ecuador's embassy in the affluent borough of Knightsbridge since 2012, initially to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape charges. Prosecutors there dropped the case a year ago, but Assange remained in the embassy after British police said he would still be arrested for violating bail conditions.

"Earlier this week, Ecuador said the situation was unsustainable and requested diplomatic status for Assange in hopes of springing him", NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from London.

Assange fears without the safety of the diplomatic immunity, the looming threat of extradition by the U.S government would result in his arrest and trial as the country's justice department was considering pressing several charges against Assange.

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"We have reminded Mr Assange that he has no reason to interfere in Ecuadoran politics because his status does not allow it".

A spokeswoman for the British Foreign Office said that from its perspective: "He is free to leave the Ecuadorean embassy whenever he wants".

"Ecuador is now exploring other solutions in dialogue with the United Kingdom, like good offices of renowned authorities, other states, or worldwide organizations that could facilitate a just, final and dignified solution for all parties", Espinosa said. Assange was arrested in London in December that year on a pan-European warrant. Since August 2012, the 46-year-old Australian computer programmer was living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, expressing concern that if he leaves the embassy he could end up being extradited to the USA, where he fears facing the death penalty, according to CNN. The Ecuadorian government has granted him political asylum. According to London's Metropolitan Police, he will be arrested if he leaves the embassy building.

Shortly after that news emerged, Assange, 46, posted a picture of himself on social media, dressed in the nation's colors of Ecuador.

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