Canada pulls staff from embassy in Libya
The Canadian government says its diplomatic mission in Libya has suspended operations and staff members have been withdrawn from the North African country amid “unpredictable security environment” there.
“The government of Canada takes the safety and security of our diplomats abroad very seriously,” Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird said in a statement on Tuesday.
It added, “Due to operational challenges, including the unpredictable security environment in Tripoli, we have authorized the temporary suspension of operations at our office in Tripoli.”
“This decision is solely due to concerns about the security of our personnel and has no connection with our continuing and longstanding diplomatic relations with Libya,” the statement said.
It also noted that Canada's Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, will provide consular services to Canadians remaining in Libya.
The Ottawa government has been advising Canadians to avoid travel to Libya since the beginning of June.
Meanwhile, an unnamed French government source said France evacuated its remaining nationals in Libya, numbering less than 100, out of the country by ship amid spiraling lawlessness and unrest.
The United States closed its embassy in Libya over the weekend amid escalating tension and fighting between rival militias in Tripoli.
Nearly three years after the fall of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a popular uprising in October 2011, Libya is still grappling with rising insecurity as the country has been witnessing numerous clashes between government forces and rival militant groups.
The former rebels refuse to lay down arms despite efforts by the central government to impose law and order.
Thousands of angry Libyan demonstrators frequently take to the streets in different cities to protest against the lack of security across the North African country.