Britain watching Tripoli hotel situation closely: Hague

24th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain is closely monitoring developments in the Tripoli hotel where foreign journalists have been confined for four days guarded by pro-regime gunmen, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Wednesday.

"We are monitoring that very closely. We are in touch with their news organisations," he said. "Of course we are concerned about their safety and the safety of anyone caught up in this fighting."

Around 30 foreign journalists, including an AFP correspondent, are in the Rixos hotel, where a BBC reporter described the conditions as "desperate".

"We are also doing what we can to help through talking to the (rebel) National Transitional Council, although they are not yet in control of that area, and to any others who may be able to help," Hague added.

"So we are monitoring that situation, we are having those discussions and I am monitoring that situation hour by hour," he noted.

The AFP reporter in the Rixos said the journalists were increasingly fearful of what to expect in the coming days, and whether or not rebel forces will meet armed resistance once they attempt to take the hotel.

Electricity, temporarily cut, has been restored but water and food were scarce.

The majority of pro-regime soldiers standing guard outside the hotel had abandoned their positions by Wednesday after rebel forces laid claim to vast swathes of Tripoli.

But a handful remained, dressed in civilian clothes and armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles.

© 2011 AFP

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