France expels 14 Libyan diplomats
France has ordered 14 people who served as Libyan diplomats under Moamer Kadhafi's regime to leave the country within two days, the French foreign ministry said on Friday.
"France has declared persona non grata 14 Libyan ex-diplomats posted in France," the ministry said in a statement, indicating that Paris no longer recognised their diplomatic status.
"Depending on their case, those concerned have a deadline of 24 to 48 hours to leave French national territory."
The ministry accused them of "activities incompatible with the relevant UN resolutions ... and contrary to the protection of Libyan civilians," citing the UN mandate under which international forces are bombing Kadhafi's strategic sites.
France was the first foreign power to formally recognise the Transitional National Council, the political leadership of the rebels who are battling Kadhafi's forces.
Days after the start of the rebellion in February, the ambassadors to France and UNESCO in Paris both declared allegiance to the rebels, complaining of repression by Kadhafi's forces against civilians.
© 2011 AFP