JULIAN Assange’s poor personal hygiene has reportedly contributed to Ecuador’s recent bid to end his more than five year stay at its London embassy.

The Times reports staff at the embassy have made several complaints about the Wikileaks founder’s hygiene since 2012, when he fled to the embassy to avoid being extradited to Sweden for questioning on two rape complaints.
An anonymous source, who has visited Mr Assange at the embassy, told the publication it had likely contributed to the recent push by Ecuador to help the 46-year-old Australian leave.

“It seems he doesn’t wash properly,” the source said.

US photographer and former White House staffer Claude Taylor, who worked for US President Bill Clinton and now frequently tweets tips purportedly from political insiders, has also claimed to have been told by an Ecuadorean government source that Mr Assange’s hygiene was a factor.

Mr Assange’s hygiene has been called into question before.

Former WikiLeaks insider Daniel Domschiet-Berg once said his former colleague’s table manners and hygiene suggested he had been “brought up by wolves”.

Ecuador’s recent push to extricate Mr Assange from its embassy included granting him citizenship in December and requesting British authorities grant him diplomatic immunity.

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa confirmed on Thursday Mr Assange had become an Ecuadorean citizen on December 12.

She told a press conference in Quito that Ecuador had asked London to recognise Assange as a diplomat, which would give him safe passage out of the embassy without fear of arrest, but Britain had refused.

“The Ecuadorean government is empowered to grant nationality to the protected person and thus facilitate ... his inclusion in the host state,” Espinosa told reporters.

She said the request to Britain to accept diplomatic status for Assange was made on December 20, and denied a day later.

The foreign minister said Quito would not press the issue because of the “good relations we have with the United Kingdom.”

UK authorities have already declared the WikiLeaks founder’s new citizenship status will not help him escape an arrest warrant and possible extradition to the US if he leaves the embassy.

“Nobody should pretend that granting him Ecuadorean citizenship is a route to solving this longstanding issue,” a British government spokesman told reporters in London.

“Julian Assange is in breach of bail conditions set in 2012 and chose to enter the Ecuadorean Embassy of his own volition,” the spokesman added.

“The Government of Ecuador knows that the way to resolve the situation is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice.”

WikiLeaks responded to the announcement on Twitter saying more than 100 legal and human rights organisations had called for the UK to respect the United Nation’s 2016 ruling that Mr Assange’s situation amounted to “arbitrary detention”.

Earlier this week, the British foreign ministry confirmed it had rejected a recent request from Ecuador to grant Mr Assange diplomatic status.

“The UK did not grant that request, nor are we in talks with Ecuador on this matter,” the ministry said in a statement.

Ms Espinosa said earlier this week that Mr Assange’s situation was “untenable”.

She said Ecuador would seek a third country or personality to be a mediator with to resolve the situation with British authorities.

“No solution will be achieved without international co-operation and the co-operation of the United Kingdom, which has also shown interest in seeking a way out,” she told reporters in Quito.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed to News Corp yesterday the Australian Government was not able to mediate on his behalf.

A DFAT spokeswoman said the Department could only provide Mr Assange “the same level of consular assistance available to any other Australian in trouble overseas”.

Consular staff are not able to offer legal advice, intervene in another country’s court proceedings or legal matters, or provide mediation services.

A DFAT spokeswoman said the Australian Government had provided or offered consular assistance to Mr Assange on more than 100 occasions since 2010.