KSA closes embassy in Libya due to security concerns

Updated 08 June 2014

KSA closes embassy in Libya due to security concerns

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia closed its diplomatic mission in Libya and withdrew all of its diplomatic staff on Monday due to security concerns, the ambassador said.
“All the diplomatic staff has left the Libyan capital aboard a private plane due to the security situation through which Libya is passing,” Ambassador Mohammed Mahmoud Al-Ali said in a statement reported on SPA.
Libya has suffered a series of attacks on its leaders and foreign diplomats in the increasingly lawless North African country, three years after NATO-backed rebels ended Muammar Qaddafi’s four-decade dictatorship.
The situation has descended into chaos since Friday when a rogue general launched an offensive against Islamists in the eastern city of Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 uprising.
On Sunday armed groups attacked the parliament in Tripoli as well as an air base in the east of the country.
Saudi Ambassador Al-Ali said all Saudi diplomats in Libya were flown out in a decision made “in coordination with the Libyan side.” He added that the mission will reopen and the diplomats will return “when the situation stabilizes in the Libyan capital.”
“We are in contact with the Libyan side on all developments,” he said.
Some countries have also pulled out their diplomatic staff from Libya.
On Friday, Algeria sent a special forces team into Tripoli to evacuate its ambassador and embassy staff following threats. Algeria has also imposed restrictions on border crossings, allowing only Algerian citizens to cross from Libya and only Libyan citizens into Libya, a security source said.
Turkey temporarily closed its consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi on Monday, a spokesman said.
The flag that normally flies over the consul building in Libya’s second city had been taken down, according to a Reuters witness, but Turkish officials said staff had not been evacuated.
The consulate was closed after a specific threat, Tanju Bilgic, spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said, without giving further details.
“The consulate has been closed for today as a security measure. Whether it will remain closed tomorrow or not will be decided in light of the security situation,” he said.
Turkey is one of the last countries to maintain a diplomatic presence in Benghazi, where the US ambassador was killed during an attack by Islamist militants on the American diplomatic mission in the port city in 2012.


Emariti soldier in Arab coalition fighting in Yemen killed in Najran

Updated 11 min 55 sec ago

Emariti soldier in Arab coalition fighting in Yemen killed in Najran

RIYADH: An Emirati soldier was killed in Saudi Arabia near the border with Yemen on Wednesday. 
Corporal Tariq Hussein Hassan Al-Baloushi was serving with UAE forces as part of the coalition supporting the Yemeni government against Houthi militants.
The UAE General Command of the Armed Forces said the soldier died “performing his national duty in Najran as part of our forces’ participation in “Operation Decisive Storm” and “Operation Restoring Hope,” state news agency WAM reported.
No further details about his death were provided.
The general command extended its condolences and sympathy to the families of the soldier.
The Arab coalition, which includes Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain intervened in the war in Yemen to restore the internationally-recognized government after it was ousted by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in 2015.
Saudi Arabia’s border areas near Houthi held territory have faced constant attacks from rockets and missiles fired from inside Yemen.