[This is the headline over a report published yesterday on The Guardian website. It reads in part:]
Britain has ordered the expulsion of the Libyan ambassador to London, Omar Jelban, in retaliation for an attack on the British embassy by a pro-Gaddafi crowd in Tripoli.
Jelban has been given 24 hours to leave the country.
"I condemn the attacks on the British embassy premises in Tripoli as well as the diplomatic missions of other countries," said the foreign secretary, William Hague. "The Vienna convention requires the Gaddafi regime to protect diplomatic missions in Tripoli. By failing to do so that regime has once again breached its international responsibilities and obligations. I take the failure to protect such premises very seriously indeed."
The statement went on: "As a result, I have taken the decision to expel the Libyan ambassador. He is persona non grata pursuant to article 9 of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations and has 24 hours to leave the country."
According to Foreign Office sources, the building housing both the British embassy residence and its chancellery was burned down by a mob early on Sunday. (...)
The Gaddafi regime appears to have mounted a symbolic attack on empty diplomatic residences and embassies in Tripoli. There are no British diplomats in the Libyan capital.
[During most of the run-up to the release of Abdelbaset Megrahi in August 2009, Omar Jelban was chargé d'affaires in the Libyan embassy in London. There had been no ambassador since the departure of Mohammed Bel Kassem Zwai (one of the officers who, along with Gaddafi, staged the coup against King Idris in 1969, and the only one who is still prominent in the regime). Jelban was not, in my view, a significant player in the 2008/2009 political manoeuvrings. On the Libyan side the big hitters were Moussa Koussa and Abdul Ati al-Obeidi.]