Monday, 2 May 2011

Britain expels Libya ambassador

[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.]


  1. "There are no British diplomats in the Libyan capital."

    Yes I thought that was the case. I was certain all British had been ordered out weeks ago.

    I know this isn't remotely funny but you really do have to laugh at Hague and his outrage over incidents like this. We are the people invading and bombing. One would, then, imagine that some Libyans might be a bit upset about that.

  2. And yet there they've gone and, by all accounts, found and killed Bin Laden in the territory of our "friend" Pakistan. Hmm. Interesting. The really scarey part is that Bush, in his efforts to get into Pakistani airspace to get into Afghanistan, did an obscene deal with Pakistan and lifted the suspension imposed on that country's access to nuclear technology in the late 90s. Bush is now gone, those in charge of the nuclear toys are also gone: indeed the US don't know even know where, in Pakistan, those toys are. And Pakistan is more unstable than ever in the view of many. Yet we see the main problem as Gaddafi.

  3. I heard Osama was completely surprised because he didn't think they collected bins on a bank holiday.

  4. Good God Blogiston that's appalling even for you!