Zimbabwe may deport Libyan envoy for recognising rebels

Last Updated: Friday, August 26, 2011 - 18:40

Harare: Zimbabwe has threatened to deport
Libya`s ambassador to Harare after he recognised the rebel
National Transitional Council (NTC) fighting Muammar Gaddafi`s
regime, state media reported on Friday.

The "NTC is not accredited to Harare," the state-run
Herald newspaper quoted foreign ministry spokesman Joey Bimha
as saying.

"If they say they now recognise the NTC, it means they
are no longer representing the interests of the Libyan
government in Zimbabwe."

An unnamed senior government official told the daily that
Zimbabwean authorities were unhappy with Ambassador Taher
Elmagrahi for hoisting the anti-Gaddafi rebellion`s flag over
the Libyan embassy in Harare and shifting his loyalty to the
NTC.

"If he remains defiant, he faces deportation. We do not
have diplomatic relations with the NTC and the hoisting of its
flag here is actually illegal," The Herald quoted the official
as saying.

Elmagrahi on Wednesday led his compatriots in burning
portraits of Gaddafi and the green flag synonymous with his
regime.

The ambassador told journalists he represents "the Libyan
people and not Gaddafi," and said he had written to Zimbabwe`s
foreign ministry announcing his defection.

Zimbabwe`s President Robert Mugabe and Gaddafi have close
ties based on their anti-Western stance.

Mugabe has condemned the NATO-led attacks on Gaddafi
targets in Libya as "callous", saying the Western coalition
wants to kill the long-term leader to help itself to Libyan
oil.

PTI



First Published: Friday, August 26, 2011 - 18:39

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