Ecuador's Foreign Ministry has confirmed granting naturalization (the legal process by which a non-citizen in a country may acquire its citizenship) to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on December 12 upon his request issued in September.
Explaining the move, Ecuador's foreign minister, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, said that she fears that third party states may threaten Assange's life.
According to her, Assange won't leave Ecuador's Embassy in London as there are no security guaranties.
During a press conference broadcast online, the foreign minister stressed that Ecuador had enough powers to provide better protection to the person who had asked for it. The minister added that Ecuador had asked the United Kingdom to grant a diplomatic status to Assange, but London had refused.
"Ecuador is currently exploring other solutions in dialogue with the UK, like good offices of renowned authorities, other states, or international organizations that could facilitate a just, final and dignified solution for all parties," she added.
On Wednesday, the El Comercio news outlet published the number of an identity document, registered in the Ecuadorian Civil Registration System under Assange's name. The report came just a day after Espinosa said Ecuador was seeking a third party to resolve the situation around Assange, stressing that the Latin American country would continue providing support to the whistleblower.
"Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice," said a British Foreign Office spokesman.
Assange has been living in the London embassy of Ecuador after being given political asylum in 2012. In 2010, Swedish authorities began an investigation into rape allegedly committed by the whistleblower, who resisted being questioned in Sweden for fear that he might be extradited to the United States over his whistleblowing organization's exposure of classified documents.