Tripoli, 23 September 2013:
Despite reports to the contrary, the German embassy is open and working normally, the new German ambassador, Christian Much, has stressed.
“We’re busy, dealing with commercial, cultural, academic and many other matters such as de-mining and visits,” Much said today.
The embassy had closed its building in central Tripoli at the end of April because of security concerns following the attack on the French embassy and moved operations to Palm City in Janzour. However, the change of location was not noted by numerous Libyan organisations and the belief spread that the embassy itself had completely shut down – a belief reinforced when the Prime Minister said on 28 April Libya was at risk of frightening embassies away and that it would make it more difficult for Libyans to obtain Schengen visas.In his statement, he mentioned that the German embassy had closed. He meant merely the building but others, including Libya officials, thought that the Germans had packed their bags and left.
Another of the reasons for the mistaken view was that as a result of the move, Germany stopped issuing Schengen visas in Tripoli.
That has now changed, the ambassador noted today. Visas are gradually starting to be issued again in Tripoli. The embassy was looking at organising the visa section by using a visa service, similar to what some other embassies are doing, which would help people to fill in their forms and submit the applications, he added. A full visa service would be up and running well before the end of the year, he said.
Much also indicated that once he had presented his credential to the President of Congress, Nuri Abu Sahmain, he would be looking to increase Germany’s profile in Libya. [/restrict]