Statement by Deputy Minister RE: Evacuation of South Africans from Libya

The South African Government wishes to express its satisfaction at the successful completion of the evacuation mission undertaken to Libya under the leadership of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the Department of Defence and Military Veterans. Through intra-governmental cooperation, 30 South Africans have been evacuated out of Libya and returned safely to South Africa. We are also pleased that we were able to assist fellow SADC countries by evacuating 9 SADC citizens from Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique as well as one UK citizen onboard the same flight. We would like to extend our appreciation to the South African Missions across the continent that assisted in the successful execution of the planned evacuation, while commending the efforts of Ambassador Mohamed Dangor and his staff, who under extremely difficult circumstances, have ensured the safe return of our citizens and those of fellow SADC countries. After careful assessment of the security situation on the ground in Tripoli it was decided that all South African diplomatic personnel would also evacuate until such time as it is safe to return to Libya.

As the situation in Libya continues to deteriorate we would like to reiterate our support for the call made by the AU Peace and Security Council for an “end to the indiscriminate and excessive use of force against demonstrators”. Furthermore we urge the Libyan government to abide by UN Security Council Resolution 1970 and ensure the safety of foreign nationals and their assets, and to facilitate the departure of those wishing to leave the country as well as the safe passage of humanitarian and medical supplies, humanitarian agencies and workers, into Libya in order to assist the Libyan people.

The South African Government will continue to monitor the situation in Libya and remains committed to provide assistance upon request from the Libyan people in ensuring a smooth transition to democratic rule.

For further information please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for DIRCO, on 082 884 5974.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

OR Tambo Building
Private bag X152
Pretoria

27 February 2011


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