Libya says nothing justifies British warning on Benghazi

24th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

Libya said on Thursday that nothing justifies a British warning of an imminent threat to Westerners in the country's second city of Benghazi.

"Nothing justifies this reaction," Deputy Interior Minister Abdullah Massoud said, adding that "there are question marks about this communique" and expressing "astonishment" at the "very strong" tone of London's statement.

Earlier on Thursday, the British Foreign Office said: "We are now aware of a specific and imminent threat to Westerners in Benghazi, and urge any British nationals who remain there against our advice to leave immediately."

Massoud said: "We acknowledge that there are security problems in Benghazi and that there have been for several months, but there is no new intelligence that could justify this reaction from London.

"On the contrary. We are now in the process of establishing our authority in the east and in all of Libya, and the security forces are organising themselves little by little and are more and more visible on the ground."

He said Tripoli would demand an explanation from London over the remarks.

The Foreign Office alert came just hours after Prime Minister David Cameron warned that last week's deadly attack in Algeria was only one part of what would be a "long struggle against murderous terrorists" around the world.

It also came a day after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave an emotional appearance before Congress about the attack on the US mission in Benghazi on September 11, which killed the US ambassador and three other people.

She warned of the challenge posed by rising militancy after the Arab Spring, saying the Arab revolutions had "shattered security forces across the region."

Around the time of the attack, Britain advised against all travel to Benghazi and most of Libya, with the exception of Tripoli and a clutch of other towns.


© 2013 AFP

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