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Ecuador government asks UK to give Assange safe passage

QUITO, May 19 (Reuters) - Ecuador's government asked the United Kingdom on Friday to give WikiLeaks' Julian Assange safe passage in order to allow him asylum in the South American nation.

Swedish prosecutors earlier in the day dropped their investigation into Assange over a rape allegation, but British police said he would still be arrested if he left the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he has been holed up for five years. (Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer and Girish Gupta; Editing by W Simon)