By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 29 July 2014:
Contrary to reportes, Spain has not followed example of the Germans, Austrians and some other . . .[restrict]European states and closed its embassy in Tripoli, an embassy official said today. “The embassy is functioning and the ambassador is there”, a Foreign Ministry official in Madrid confirmed. However, Canada has announced that it is temporarily withdrawing its diplomatic staff from Libya. Portugal is also temporarily closing its embassy.
The Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said in a statement that the Candian diplomats in Tripoli would temporarily work out of the Canadian embassy in Tunisia “until appropriate measures are put in place to respond to the changing operational environment” in Tripoli.
“This decision is solely due to concerns about the security of our personnel and has no connection with our continuing and long-standing diplomatic relations with Libya”, the statement said.
Yesterday the Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Garcia-Margallo said that what was happening was that Spain was sending an aircraft to evacuate Spanish citizens who wanted to leave. At the same time the embassy was reducing the number of staff from the current 19 to a minimum.
Spain, he said, could not and would not “completely eliminate” its diplomatic presence in Tripoli. It would remain as a “clear sign of support” both for Libya and for the new House of Representatives which opens on 4 August.
The number of Spaniards living and working in Libya was 150, he said.
On Sunday, Spain – like most other EU states – issued a advisory notice telling Spaniards not to travel to Libya.
Portugal is reported to be working with Spain in the evacuation of its own citizens. The Portuguese news agency Lusa reported that the Portuguese government had announced today that it had decided to temporarily suspend the Portuguese diplomatic representation in Tripoli due to the lack of security in Libya.
German diplomats left yesterday, the Austrians today. The Dutch have also left. The Americans left on Sunday. The US Ambassador, Deborah Jones, is working out of Malta.
The French, British, Italians and Maltese are also remaining – again, as one diplomat put it, “to show their firm support” for Libya. [/restrict]