Libya Reported Ready to Expel Some Diplomats, Restrict Others
The Libyan government plans to order several Western European diplomats out of the country and restrict the movements of those remaining in retaliation for European restrictions against Libyans last week, a Western diplomat said Sunday.
The British consul in Tripoli, whose country does not have diplomatic relations with Libya, said he plans to advise British workers to send their dependents home.
A handful of remaining foreign journalists said they plan to leave the country soon. The last group of about 15 journalists emphasized that they are not being expelled but have decided to leave after repeated requests by Libyan authorities.
The diplomat said European representatives were summoned to a meeting at the Foreign Ministry on Saturday and were told that the action was being taken in retaliation for the recent decision of the European Communities to cut the size of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi’s diplomatic and trade missions in Western Europe.
A Libyan television report said the heads of missions from Greece, Italy, Spain, France, West Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark were told that Libya “rejects the measures adopted by the European Communities countries.”
The broadcast also said that the diplomats were told that Libya has “no links or any kind of relation with terrorism” and that the Europeans were accused of giving in to “U.S. pressure” in adopting the sanctions.
Common Market foreign ministers have agreed to cut the size of Libyan diplomatic and trade missions to a minimum, limit the movement of Kadafi’s diplomats and tighten controls on other Libyans because of what they call Tripoli’s sponsorship of terrorism.
U.S. warplanes attacked Libya on April 15, and President Reagan said the raid was in retaliation for Libya’s role in a terrorist bombing of a West Berlin nightclub popular with American servicemen. The British government allowed some of the U.S. jets to take off from Britain. Since the raid, the number of Britons living in Libya has dropped from 5,000 to about 4,000.
The British consul said British workers will be told to advise their companies in Britain not to send any more personnel to Libya.
In Mexico City, meanwhile, previously unknown guerrilla groups called “Commander of the Bolivarian Army” and the “Simon Bolivar International Front” claimed responsibility for a bomb left outside the U.S. Embassy, saying it was in retaliation for the attack on Libya.
The bomb, found in a car, was defused by police Saturday night.