Britain expels 5 Libyan diplomats
LONDON: Britain has expelled five Libyan diplomats to protest at the Libyan government's actions and because they could pose a threat to national security, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Wednesday.
"To underline our grave concern at the regime's behaviour, ... we have today taken steps to expel five diplomats at the Libyan embassy in London, including the military attache," Hague told parliament.
"The government also judged that, were those individuals to remain in Britain, they could pose a threat to our security."
The diplomats, believed to be supporters of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, have been given seven days to leave, a government source said.
Britain hosted an international conference on Tuesday that piled pressure on Gaddafi to quit and pledged to continue military action against his forces until he complies with a U.N. resolution to protect civilians. [ID:nLDE72S00I]
Britain long treated Libya as a rogue state. The 1984 shooting of a London policewoman from inside the Libyan embassy, the Libyan arming of IRA guerrillas in Northern Ireland and the 1988 Lockerbie airline bombing over Scotland, for which a Libyan was convicted, contributed to Gaddafi being branded a pariah.
After Gaddafi agreed in 2003 to abandon efforts to acquire chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, then Prime Minister Tony Blair helped lead him back into the international fold, opening the way for lucrative business deals. - Reuters
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