Countries move to evacuate citizens from Libya

15:39, February 24, 2011      

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China's first chartered plane to evacuate its nationals from Libya is seen in Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 23, 2011. China's first chartered plane to evacuate its nationals from Libya left Beijing Wednesday afternoon. Carrying a joint task group of officials from various ministries, the chartered aircraft, an Air China Airbus A330-200, took off at about 5:15 p.m. with food, medicines and other necessities on board. (Xinhua/Xing Guangli)

Governments around the world scrambled to evacuate their citizens from unrest-hit Libya on Wednesday.

Two military planes have brought some 400 French nationals back to Paris from Libya early Wednesday. A third plane was sent to Libya later in the day.

According to the French Foreign Ministry, there were about 500 to 550 French nationals in Libya.

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry on Wednesday announced that its first charter plane has brought 118 Russians back to Moscow from Libya, and it is preparing the next evacuation by a vessel to Turkey.

Russia has sent four charter planes to evacuate Russian nationals from Libya. According to the ministry, about 1,263 people were going to be evacuated by charter planes, including 563 Russians, and citizens of Serbia and Turkey.

Turkey has launched "the most comprehensive evacuation operation in history" by sending planes, ferry boats and buses to bring back thousands of nationals from unrest-hit Libya, officials said Wednesday.

There were more than 25,000 Turkish citizens working in Libya before chaos began last week. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Wednesday that 5,099 Turks had been evacuated within the past 72 hours, of them, 3,035 people were brought back by two ferries.

Turkish companies based in Libya were also hiring chartered planes to evacuate their employees, but since chartered flights were barred from Libyan airports, the evacuees had to be brought to Egypt and Tunisia by bus first.

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