Britain expels five Libyan diplomats over security concerns

08:44, March 31, 2011      

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Foreign Secretary William Hague announced Wednesday that Britain has expelled five Libyan diplomats due to security concerns.

British officials said the diplomats were regarded as the leading supporters of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in Libya's London embassy, and had been involved in attempts to harass opposition supporters in Britain.

"To underline our grave concern at the Gaddafi regime's behavior, I can announce to the House that we have today taken steps to expel five diplomats at the Libyan embassy in London, including the military attache," Hague told the House of Commons during Prime Minister's Questions.

"The government also judged that were these individuals to remain in Britain, they could pose a threat to our security."

Hague also confirmed that British diplomats have held talks in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi with opposition figures in recent days, ahead of similar meetings being held by U.S. and French officials.

Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking ahead of Hague's statement, confirmed Britain believes there is a legal loophole to allow nations to supply weapons to Libya's rebels -- but stressed the U.K. has not decided whether it will offer assistance to the rebels.

Cameron told lawmakers that his legal advice was clear that, under the U.N. Security Council resolution, weapons could be handed to opposition fighters in some limited circumstances.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told an international summit on Libya in London on Tuesday that the U.N. resolution would allow nations to circumvent a current arms embargo.

Source: Xinhua
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