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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than five years, has been given an identity number in the South American country, its civil register showed Wednesday.

The number 1729926483 refers to the north-central province of Pinchincha, the daily El Universo reported.

The newspaper said Assange may also have been given a passport.

After media reports on the development, the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry said it would not respond to “rumours or distorted or out-of-context information” on the Assange case, without mentioning the number specifically.

Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said Tuesday that Ecuador was in close contact with Britain and might seek mediation to solve a situation she described as “unsustainable.”

The Australian is living in a small office at the Ecuadorian embassy. Quito granted him asylum in 2012, when Sweden was investigating him for sexual offences.

Sweden has dropped the investigation, but Assange says he fears arrest and extradition to the United States over the publication of secret documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by his online platform.

Quito is believed to want Assange to travel to Ecuador.

But he can only leave the embassy by submitting himself to the judiciary, the British news agency PA quoted a Foreign Office spokesman as saying.

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