Ecuador remains stuck with Julian Assange

Britain has refused a request by Ecuador for diplomatic status to be given to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a spokesman for Britain's Foreign Office says.

Mr 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 since dropped rape allegations.

"The government of Ecuador recently requested diplomatic status for Mr Assange here in the UK," a spokesman said on Thursday. "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.

Mr Assange was "naturalised" as an Ecuadorean on December 12, at his request, Ecuador's Foreign Minister said, adding she is seeking a "dignified" solution to his situation with Britain.

Maria Fernanda Espinosa confirmed Assange's citizenship request at a press conference in Quito. She said she feared for threats to Mr Assange's life coming from third party states.

The 46-year-old Australian still fears being sent to the US to face charges over WikiLeaks' release of secret US government documents.

Earlier this week Ms Espinosa said the country may pursue mediation to resolve the stand-off between the South American nation and Britain over his fate.

The UK's rejection of a diplomatic pass comes after Mr Assange tweeted a cryptic picture of him dressed in the colours of Ecuador.