UNHCR says seeking dialogue with Libya over office closure

10th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

The UN refugee agency said Thursday that it was seeking discussions with Libya to allow it to resume its work in the country, two days after the agency announced that it had been asked to leave.

"UNHCR is confirming its awareness of the concerns of the Libyan Government and is seeking an open, constructive dialogue with Libya to dispel any misunderstandings and hopefully to reach consensus on resuming its work," said Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Fleming disclosed on Tuesday that Tripoli had ordered the agency to close its Libya office and leave the country. She said then that no reason was given by Tripoli.

Libya later said it had ordered the closure because Tripoli was not a signatory to the Geneva Convention on refugees and therefore it did not recognise the UN agency's office in its capital.

Libya's ambassador to the EU also told AFP that Tripoli "has a problem with the status of this organisation (the UNHCR), as well as with the concept of what a refugee is, as defined at an international level."

© 2010 AFP

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