‘British, foreign nationals evacuated from Libya’

Britain evacuated hundreds of its nationals when fighting broke out in February.

Updated: Aug 21, 2011, 20:21 PM IST

London: Britons and other foreign nationals
were due to be evacuated from Tripoli on a boat to Malta on Sunday
as fighting between rebels and Muammar Gaddafi`s forces
reached the Libyan capital, the Foreign Office said.

The boat sent by the Maltese government "was due to leave
at 9am local time" today, bound for Valletta, a Foreign Office
spokeswoman in London said, although she could not confirm
it had left.

About eight or nine British nationals were allocated
places and other nationalities were also on board, she said.

The boat is not a passenger vessel, she added, without giving
further details.

"We are aware of foreign nationals being there, including
some British nationals who are leaving this morning," said
Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt in an interview with the BBC.

He added: "Our advice to people in Tripoli has been
consistent over a lengthy period of time, obviously to take
all available opportunities to leave.

"Most of those who are still there have had reasons to
stay embedded, many will have had relatives or relations, and
have been content to stay in Tripoli."

Britain evacuated hundreds of its nationals when fighting
broke out in February and asked those who remained, who
include dual nationals, journalists and health workers, to
register voluntarily with the Foreign Office.

Since then they have been offered various "exit options",
of which the Maltese ship is one, the Foreign Office
spokeswoman said. She would not disclose how many Britons are
thought to remain in Libya.

Burt added: "The position of civilians, both foreign
nationals and Libyan civilians, has been well taken into
account by forces over the last few months and the (rebel)
National Transitional Council have clear plans for how to deal
with the situation now."