Australia withdraws diplomats from Libya amid unrest

Sunday, February 27, 2011

CANBERRA - Australia has withdrawn its diplomats from Libya amid unrest in that country, which eventually prompted the United Nations to impose sanctions on Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said Australian Consul-General Tom Yates and two other officials had been evacuated to Malta as the Gaddafi’s regime intensified its crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Libya, The Age reports.

“As prime minister, I’ve got a duty of care to our consular staff and like other nations I formed the view that it was not safe to have them stay in Tripoli,” Gillard said.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said that 13 Australians are still remaining in Libya, adding that although some have made arrangements to leave the country in the coming days, others have decided to stay.

Rudd also said that one of two Australians arrested by Libyan security forces had been released.

“We still have real concerns however about an Australian citizen who was put under arrest only a couple of days ago,” he added.

Britain, the US and Canada have also evacuated diplomats from the Tripoli in recent days.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council has agreed to impose scores of sanctions against Libya, including an arms embargo, and freezing of the assets of Colonel Gaddafi and his relatives.

The resolution, passed on Saturday evening by a 15-member council, voted unanimously to freeze the assets of Gaddafi, his four sons and one daughter, and also impose travel bans on his whole family, and ten other associates. (ANI)

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