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.


Israeli PM: Palestinians in Jordan Valley won’t be citizens

Updated 49 min 41 sec ago

Israeli PM: Palestinians in Jordan Valley won’t be citizens

  • Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead with plans to annex the Jordan Valley

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley will remain in what he described as an “enclave” after Israel annexes the territory and will not be granted Israeli citizenship.
Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead with plans to annex the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, in line with President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan, a process that could begin as early as July 1.
The annexation of the Jordan Valley and the far-flung settlements would make it virtually impossible to create a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel, which is still widely seen as the only way to resolve the decades-old conflict.
In an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper, Netanyahu said Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, including residents of the city of Jericho, would remain under limited Palestinian self-rule, with Israel having overall security control.
“They will remain a Palestinian enclave,” he said. “You’re not annexing Jericho. There’s a cluster or two. You don’t need to apply sovereignty over them. They will remain Palestinian subjects, if you will. But security control also applies to these places.”
Palestinians in the West Bank have lived under Israeli military rule since the 1967 war, when Israel captured the territory, along with east Jerusalem and Gaza. The Palestinians want all three territories to form their future state.
The Trump plan would grant the Palestinians limited statehood over scattered enclaves surrounded by Israel if they meet a long list of conditions. Israel has embraced the plan, while the Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the West Bank, has angrily rejected it and cut ties with the US and Israel.
Netanyahu said that if the Palestinians accept all the conditions in the plan, including Israel maintaining overall security control, “then they will have an entity of their own that President Trump defines as a state.”
Under a coalition agreement reached last month, Netanyahu can bring his annexation plans before the government as early as July 1.
The Palestinian Authority has said it is no longer bound by any agreements signed with Israel and the US, and says it has cut off security coordination with Israel. Neighboring Jordan, a close Western ally and one of only two Arab states to have made peace with Israel, has warned of a “massive conflict” if Israel proceeds with annexation.