By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 18 May 2017:
In a sweeping cull of its representatives abroad, the Presidency Council’s foreign ministry has sacked 12 Libyan ambassadors. Another ten “business leaders” (thought to be commercial attachées) are also being removed as are four consuls-general.
The removals come just a day after the Presidency Council’s foreign minister, Mohamed Siala sacked Khalifa Hafter’s key ally and ambassador to Saudi Arabia Abdulbasit Elbadri.
The axed ambassadors are those to Canada, Ethiopia, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Panama, Qatar, Serbia, Slovakia, Sudan, the Vatican, and the UK.
The consuls-general are those in Alexandria, Dubai, Istanbul and Milan.
In a statement, the foreign ministry said that it had “ended the work” for those who had completed their work abroad – without defining what that meant – or those who had reached the legal age of retirement.
It also announced it would call back a number of business leaders who likewise had “completed their work abroad”. These are in Australia, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Ivory Coast, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka.
In the case of Riyadh ambassador Elbadri sacked yesterday, his support for Khalifa Hafter is widely seen as the reason. Some of those sacked today are likewise seen as Hafter supporters, such as Breik Swessi, the ambassador in The Hague. Appointed in 2013, the Presidency Council is known to have been trying to effect his removal for some time, even to the point of suggesting to the Dutch that they withdraw his diplomatic status.