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.


Donald Trump says Erdogan told him he wants northern Syria cease-fire to work

Updated 35 min 30 sec ago

Donald Trump says Erdogan told him he wants northern Syria cease-fire to work

  • Trump, in a series of tweets, said he had spoken to Erdogan
  • Call followed Trump letter to Turkish president which drew international criticism

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said Friday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had assured him that he wants the “cease-fire” with Kurdish militants in northern Syria to work.
Trump, in a series of tweets, said he had spoken to Erdogan and “he very much wants the cease-fire, or pause, to work.
“Likewise, the Kurds want it, and the ultimate solution, to happen,” the US president said.
“There is good will on both sides & a really good chance for success,” he said. “The US has secured the Oil, & the Daesh Fighters are double secured by Kurds & Turkey.”
Trump also said that “some” European countries, which he did not name, “are now willing, for the first time, to take the (Daesh group) Fighters that came from their nations.”
“This is good news, but should have been done after WE captured them,” he said. “Anyway, big progress being made!!!!“
Trump also tweeted “DEFEAT TERRORISM!” in all capital letters in response to a tweet by Erdogan saying “Mr. President, many more lives will be saved when we defeat terrorism, which is humanity’s arch enemy.”
Earlier Friday, Erdogan warned that Ankara would resume military operations against Kurdish forces in Syria if they did not withdraw from a “safe zone” along the Turkey-Syria border.
Turkey has agreed to suspend its offensive for five days in northern Syria while Kurdish fighters withdraw from the area, after high-stake talks with US Vice President Mike Pence in Ankara.