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Europe

Britain expels Libyan envoy over Tripoli embassy attacks

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-05-01

The British government has expelled Libya's ambassador amid reports of looting at several foreign missions in Tripoli, where Libyan authorities say one of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's sons has died in a NATO air strike.

REUTERS - The British and Italian embassies in Tripoli have been attacked, prompting Britain to expel the Libyan ambassador, the two countries said on Sunday.

"I condemn the attacks on the British Embassy premises in Tripoli as well as the diplomatic missions of other countries," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement.
 
He added that Libya had breached its international obligation to protect diplomatic missions in Tripoli.
 
"As a result, I have taken the decision to expel the Libyan ambassador," he said, noting that the official, Omar Jelban, had 24 hours to leave Britain.
 
A spokeswoman at Britain's foreign ministry added that the damage was "severe". "Initial reports indicate it was caused by fire and both the embassy building and the (UK) ambassador's residence have been damaged," she told Reuters.
 
The Italian foreign ministry also said in a statement "there were attacks of vandalism against the buildings of a number of foreign embassies in Tripoli, including the Italian embassy".
 
UN international staff leaves Tripoli

The U.N. said Sunday the 12 international members of its staff in Tripoli had left Libya because of unrest in the capital. The U.N.'s local staff will remain.

In February Britain announced that it had closed its embassy in Tripoli and evacuated embassy staff because of the "deteriorating situation" in Libya.
 
Then in March Britain expelled five Libyan diplomats in protest at the Libyan authorities' actions and because they could pose a threat to national security.
 
The Libyan government said on Sunday that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi survived a NATO air strike on Saturday night on a Tripoli house that killed his youngest son Saif al-Arab and three grandchildren.
 
Britain has been in the forefront of the international campaign against Gaddafi, including launching air strikes against his forces and calling for him to relinquish power.
 
Libyan loyalists shell Misrata

Libyan rebels said that Gaddafi's forces shelled the port of Misrata Sunday, threatening the only lifeline to a city that has been under siege for two weeks.

For its part Italy, the former colonial power and previously one of Gaddafi's best friends in Europe, has recognised the rebel Provisional Transitional Council as the legitimate authority in Libya and called on Gaddafi to go.

 

Date created : 2011-05-01

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