By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 2 August 2014:
The British embassy has announced that its remaining staff are leaving Libya and relocating their . . .[restrict]work to Tunis.
“Reluctantly, we’ve decided we have to leave and temporarily suspend embassy operations in Libya,” the ambassador Michael Aron tweeted last night. “We will be back as soon as security allows. Fighting has spread to where we live in Suraj and the risk of getting caught in the crossfire is too great”.
Repeating that the British mission would be back, he added “I have faith in Libya and its wonderful people”.
Speaking to the Libya Herald today, Aron said: “Our priority is to get those British citizens who want to leave out of Libya. Then we’ll go. We very sorry to be leaving. We’ll come back as soon as we possibly can. ”
Yesterday the EUBAM mission also announced that it was pulling out, as did the Polish embassy. The Polish foreign ministry announced today that 24 of their nationals, including diplomatic staff, had arrived in Warsaw. It is not clear how the evacuation took place but the ministry said that two Lithuanians and six Slovaks were also taken out at the same time.
This means that of the EU embassies only the Italians and the Maltese are still maintaining their missions in Tripoli.
The British decision to pull back will doubtless have been influenced by the attack last week on an embassy convoy on the road to Zawia in which two vehicles were hit by gunfire but noone was injured.
The Foreign Office in London has strongly urged all British nationals, of whom there are still thought to be up to 300, to leave Libya immediately by commercial means. It said that the embassy in Tripoli is also arranging assisted departure but places are limited and requests “will be strictly prioritised”. After 4 August no further UK consular assistance will be available in Libya.
British nationals needing help to leave are being asked to contact the Foreign Office immediately on +44 207 008 0000.
Anyone deciding to stay or who is concerned about a Briton in Libya can complete an online registration form online registration form or text “Libya2014” to +447860010026, responding with details when a reply is received.