Quito, Jan 11 (AFP) Ecuador has granted citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been sheltering at its London embassy for five years to avoid arrest, Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa announced today.

Espinosa told a press conference in Quito that Assange, an Australian, became an Ecuadoran citizen on December 12.

As a result, she said Ecuador had asked London to recognise Assange as a diplomat, which would give him immunity from arrest, a request Britain has refused. (AFP) PMS

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