British, foreign nationals evacuated from Libya: UK

21st August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britons and other foreign nationals were due to be evacuated from Tripoli on a boat to Malta on Sunday as fighting between rebels and Moamer Kadhafi's forces reached the Libyan capital, the Foreign Office said.

The boat sent by the Maltese government "was due to leave at 9am local time" on Sunday, bound for Valletta, a Foreign Office spokeswoman in London told AFP, although she could not confirm it had left.

About eight or nine British nationals were allocated places and other nationalities were also on board, she said. The boat is not a passenger vessel, she added, without giving further details.

"We are aware of foreign nationals being there, including some British nationals who are leaving this morning," said Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt in an interview with the BBC.

He added: "Our advice to people in Tripoli has been consistent over a lengthy period of time, obviously to take all available opportunities to leave.

"Most of those who are still there have had reasons to stay embedded, many will have had relatives or relations, and have been content to stay in Tripoli."

Britain evacuated hundreds of its nationals when fighting broke out in February and asked those who remained, who include dual nationals, journalists and health workers, to register voluntarily with the Foreign Office.

Since then they have been offered various "exit options", of which the Maltese ship is one, the Foreign Office spokeswoman said. She would not disclose how many Britons are thought to remain in Libya.

Burt added: "The position of civilians, both foreign nationals and Libyan civilians, has been well taken into account by forces over the last few months and the (rebel) National Transitional Council have clear plans for how to deal with the situation now."

© 2011 AFP

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