US pledges to protect Libyan embassy in Washington

August 6th, 2011 - 11:03 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 6 (IANS) The US government will protect the Libyan embassy and its personnel in Washington, the State Department said after handing over the embassy to the rebel National Transitional Council.

The statement affirmed that the US “takes seriously” its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Xinhua reported.

It will also “take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of foreign diplomatic missions and their personnel in the United States”, the statement said.

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 is an international treaty that defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries. It specifies the privileges of a diplomatic mission that enable diplomats to perform their function without fear of coercion or harassment by the host country. This forms the legal basis for diplomatic immunity. It has been ratified by 186 countries.

The State Department pledged to “work closely” with the US Secret Service and local law enforcements to ensure that “an appropriate level of security is afforded to the Libyan embassy and mission personnel”.

The embassy was closed down in Washington after the US embassy in Tripoli was shut down in February.

The State Department last month recognised the National Transitional Council, Libya’s main opposition group, as the sole and legitimate interlocutor of the Libyan people.

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