Ecuador has granted citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Foreign Affairs Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa confirmed the government of Ecuador granted "naturalisation" to Mr Assange last December after he made a request in September.

The 46-year-old has been living in the London embassy of the South American country for five-and-a-half years after being granted political asylum as he fought sex-related claims in Sweden.

The Ecuadorian government said earlier this week that it was seeking mediation to resolve the impasse, while Mr Assange posted a picture of himself on Twitter wearing an Ecuadorian football shirt yesterday.

The UK Foreign Office has turned down a request from the Ecuadorian government to grant Mr Assange diplomatic status.

An FCO spokesman said: "The government of Ecuador recently requested diplomatic status for Mr Assange here in the UK.

"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."

Swedish prosecutors have dropped their investigation into allegations against Mr Assange, but he fears he will be extradited to the United States if he leaves the building.

A United Nations panel concluded in 2016 that Mr Assange was under arbitrary detention.