Tripoli, 9 December 2013:
Russian diplomats who were evacuated from the Russian embassy in Tripoli after it was attacked earlier this year . . .[restrict]are now returning to Libya.
Nine diplomats are returning to their posts in Tripoli, travelling via Tunisia, according to The Voice of Russia. The embassy was vacated by staff and family members on 3 October following an incident the previous day when the compound came under attack by people believed to be residents from Tripoli’s Suq Al-Juma district.
The incident, during which a vehicle outside the embassy was set alight and armed men attempted to scale the walls of the compound, was a revenge attack following the killing of a prominent revolutionary fighter by a Russian national in Suq Al-Juma.
Ekaterina Ustyuzhaninova was arrested on suspicion of murdering Mohammed Andals Suaissi. She is currently being held in a Libyan jail pending completion of investigations into the murder.
Russia had quoted Libyan authorities as saying that they were unable to guarantee the security and reccommended the evacuation. Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdul Aziz, however, denied this, saying: “The request was for the Russian ambassador to leave the embassy and spend the night in a hotel or somewhere else safe.”
The incident appears to have soured trade relations between the two countries. Just one week before the incident at the embassy, ten Russian BMP-3 armoured vehicles were delivered to Tripoli’s Mitiga Air Base. The first delivery from a large order placed by the Qaddafi regime, subsequent deliveries now appear to be in doubt.
Defence industry sources have told the Libya Herald that Russian President Vladamir Putin, has ordered the country’s defence companies not to seek further sales of defence equipment in Libya for the foreseeable future. This has not yet been officially confirmed. [/restrict]