83 Chinese citizens evacuated to Egypt from restive Libya

14:01, February 23, 2011      

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Eighty-three Chinese nationals were evacuated from turbulent Libya to Egypt early Wednesday. More Chinese nationals will be evacuated to Egypt through the border crossing, the Chinese Embassy said.

The first batch of Chinese citizens had crossed over the border after 11 hours of wait and were en route to Egypt's second largest city of Alexandria with the help of the Chinese Embassy, Zhang Zhizhong, consulate official at the Chinese Embassy told Xinhua.

The Chinese nationals would fly back to China from Alexandria, Zhang said.

The Chinese nationals are business staff and construction laborers belonging to China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), which had operations in Libya.

Zhang said the Embassy had been in full preparation for more evacuations from Libya.

Two foreigners hired by the CSCEC were also evacuated to Egypt, Zhang said.

The Chinese Embassy in Cairo said on Tuesday that 12 shuttle buses had arrived at the Alsalloum crossing for the evacuation and another 50 buses would be mobilized to the border for more evacuations.

Embassy officials told Xinhua that "a large number of Chinese nationals" were stranded in the border area on the Libyan side.

Inspired by protests in Tunisia and Egypt, Libyan protesters started to take to the streets early last week in a bid to end Muammar Gaddafi's 41-year-long rule, plunging the North African country into violent chaos and bloodshed.

Some Chinese workers in Libya said earlier that nearly all Chinese companies in the country were "attacked or looted." No casualties were reported yet.

China on Tuesday urged Libya to take substantial measures to protect its compatriots and other foreign nationals in the unrest-hit country, and to facilitate their evacuation.

Li Baodong, permanent representative of the Chinese Mission to the UN, said after a close-door Security Council meeting on Libya that China is "very concerned" about the current situation in Libya and hopes the country "can restore social stability and political order as soon as possible."

"I urge the Libyan government and all parties concerned to ensure life and property safety of Chinese and other foreign nationals in Libya, and call on all parties to enhance international cooperation and facilitate their evacuation," Li said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have ordered all-out efforts to ensure life and property safety of Chinese nationals in Libya.

Hu and Wen asked relevant authorities to take timely and effective measures to achieve the aim. An emergency center was also set up to organize the evacuation of the Chinese including people from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan in Libya.

Source: Xinhua

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