Britain expels Gaddafi diplomats

July 27th, 2011 - 6:56 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 27 (IANS) Britain will recognise the Libyan rebel council as the “sole governmental authority”, and Gaddafi-regime diplomats have been expelled, Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

The Libyan charge d’affaires was called to the Foreign Office to be told that he and the other seven diplomats must leave, BBC reported.

Britain will ask the rebel National Transitional Council to appoint a new diplomatic envoy. The rebel council has also been recognised by the US and France.

The green flag of the Gaddafi regime was, however, still flying outside the embassy Wednesday.

A few protesters carrying the red, green and black flag of the Libyan rebels gathered outside the embassy.

At a press conference, Hague said the council has shown commitment to a “more open and democratic Libya… in stark contrast to Gaddafi whose brutality against the Libyan people has stripped him of all legitimacy”.

A recent meeting of the Libya contact group held in Istanbul had decided to treat the council as the legitimate government of Libya.

Britain would now deal with the council “on the same basis as other governments around the world”.

“We no longer recognise them (Gaddafi envoys) as the representatives of the Libyan government and we are inviting the National Transitional Council to appoint a new Libyan diplomatic envoy to take over the Libyan Embassy in London,” Hague said.

He said he was working with the council and Libyan banks and would do everything possible to ensure Libyan students in Britain continue to receive funds currently paid for by the Libyan embassy.

The foreign secretary also outlined measures to unfreeze assets worth 91 million pounds belonging to an oil company now controlled by the council, to help meet “basic needs” in Libya.

“What I have announced today will allow us to give further assistance to the people of Libya and underline the message to the Gaddafi regime that their legitimacy has come to an end.”

The British embassy in Tripoli suspended operations in February but it has a diplomatic mission in rebel-held Benghazi.

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