Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for March 2, 2011

Newsline: Indian embassy in Egypt sets up border land post for Indians in Libya

With a bulk of the 18,000 Indians still stranded in strife-torn Libya, the Indian embassy in neighbouring Egypt has set up a land border crossing point to facilitate the evacuation through the desert. The setting up of a land post comes after the government pressed in special air flights and ships to bring back the stranded Indians. The Indian embassy has posted a delegation at Egypt’s crossing of Salloum on the border with Libya. The delegation is facilitating the issuing of new traveling papers for those whose documents were destroyed, burnt down or lost in the chaos in Libya. Up to 170 Indians were issued new identity papers till last mornig before they headed back to India, the embassy said. Another 100 Indian expats have been evacuated from Libyan ports, it said. According to Indian ambassador in Egypt R Swaminathan, efforts will continue until all Indians in Libya are evacuated to safety. Nearly 20% of an estimated 18,000 Indians have been pulled out of the north African nation so far, and external affairs minister SM Krishna spoke to his Libyan counterpart Mussa Kussa seeking help in evacuating the remaining Indians, many of whom are in the interior regions of Libya. Besides daily Air India flights from Tripoli which have so far evacuated 1,083 people, the ship Scotia Prince, set sail for Alexandria in Egypt from Benghazi with an estimated 1,188 Indian nationals on board yesterday. The government has also instructed all private airlines to operate one flight each to Libya everyday from today to bring back stranded Indians from the country.



Newsline: Suspect in French Embassy attack escapes in Mali

An official in Mali says a suspect in a January attack on the French Embassy has escaped from jail. The official who works in the presidency asked his name not be used as he is not authorized to speak to the press. He gave no further details. The suspect was arrested Jan. 5 after the attack that wounded at least two people. Police said the man claimed to be a Tunisian member of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. The group, however, did not claim responsibility for the attack. Mali’s government said the attack was an isolated incident. The al-Qaida franchise operates in the former French colony and has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping last year of five French citizens and two others who worked at a French-owned uranium mine in neighboring Niger.