Germany expels five Libyan diplomats

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Berlin on Wednesday took what it called the extremely rare step of expelling five Libyan diplomats for "exerting pressure" on Libyans living in Germany.

"The foreign ministry today (Wednesday) summoned the Libyan ambassador in Germany. He was informed that five Libyan diplomats have been expelled and have seven days to leave Germany," a statement said.

"The reason for the expulsion is pressure being exerted on Libyan citizens in Germany."

It gave no further details.

"We cannot be more specific at this point," foreign ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke said.

"But you can assume that we have looked into this very carefully with the relevant German authorities and that we have enough evidence that these diplomats were in contravention of their diplomatic duties here."

He added that expulsions "are very seldom made, and such a large group of diplomats being expelled at the same time is even rarer. I am unaware of a similar case in the recent past."

© 2011 AFP

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