Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Serbia mulls closure of embassy in Libya

Serbian prime minister Aleksander Vucic said that his country’s Tripoli embassy may now close completely after Sunday’s abduction of two of its diplomats. However, the convoy of Serbian diplomats including the ambassador, which attacked outside Sabratha, was travelling without authorisation, a spokesman for the Tripoli administration of Khalif Ghwell has claimed. The diplomats had breached rules, said Jamal Zubia, which forbade them from moving outside a 30-kilometre zone around Tripoli without telling the administration’s foreign affairs ministry. Other sources suggested that the convoy would have been given a security escort had the Serbs given advance notice. The Serbian government has given little information on the abduction of the envoys, communication officer Sladjana Stankovic, who was apparently ending her Libyan tour and her driver Jovica Stepic. Serbian media are saying that their location has been established and that negotiations with the kidnappers are in progress. It is being claimed that the motive for the seizure is financial. However in Serbia there are reports that the kidnapping may relate to a Libyan commercial deal that went sour. A former Serbian ambassador to Libya, Dusan Simonovic, today attacked his government for maintaining its embassy in Tripoli when most other diplomatic missions had left.



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