Spain expels Libyan ambassador, embassy officials
Spain said Thursday it is booting out Libya's ambassador over the Kadhafi regime's repression of civilians and expelling three embassy officials for unspecified activities.
Madrid told Ambassador Ageli Abdussalam Ali Breni he had 10 days to leave the country, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
"The government of Spain has decided to end the mission of the ambassador accredited to Madrid by the Tripoli authorities, the Kadhafi regime having lost all legitimacy for its continued repression of the Libyan people," it said.
Spain also ejected three Libyan embassy officials who "were undertaking activities incompatible with their diplomatic status", it said, using a diplomatic formula often employed to describe espionage.
A foreign ministry spokeswoman declined to comment on the allegations against the three embassy officials.
Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez announced June 8 that Spain recognised the rebels' National Transitional Council (NTC) as the "sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people".
"Spain will help the Libyan people; we want a democratic country with rights and freedoms," Jimenez said during a visit to rebel-held Benghazi after talks with the rebels' political arm, the NTC.
Jimenez promised Spain would pursue humanitarian aid to the Libyan people and called for international financial mechanisms to help the rebellion against Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.
Spain, which has posted a diplomat in Benghazi since April to strengthen dialogue with the NTC, is part of the international military operation aimed at preventing attacks on civilians in Libya.
During a meeting in Madrid on Thursday, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen agreed that military, political and economic pressure must be kept up against Kadhafi, the Spanish government said in a statement.
© 2011 AFP