France evacuates nationals, closes embassy in Libya
France has evacuated more than nearly 50 French and British citizens from Libya by ship and temporarily closed its embassy, French authorities said on Wednesday amid growing unrest in the north African country.
A French diplomatic source said 40 French nationals, including the ambassador, were evacuated from Libya along with seven British nationals.
Government spokesman Stephane Le Foll confirmed that the French and British nationals had been evacuated by ship, probably because of the battles between rival militias raging around Tripoli’s airport. They are bound for the southern French port of Toulon.
“We have taken all necessary measures to allow those French nationals who so wish to leave the country temporarily,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The French embassy in Tripoli has been temporarily closed, the foreign ministry said, adding that diplomatic activities would continue to be conducted from Paris for now.
Two weeks of fighting around Tripoli airport and between rival militias have killed scores of people and prompted several countries to urge their citizens to leave Libya, in what has been described as the deadliest violence since the 2011 war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.
“It’s clearly the worst situation that the country has experienced since the fall of the Gaddafi regime. Considering the intensity of the clashes, I don’t see it improving better any time soon,” Tripoli resident Ahmed Am Fasatwi told FRANCE 24.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
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