Feb.24 (KATAKAMI.COM) — Full text of British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Libya which was announced on Wednesday (Feb. 23, 2011) :
Libya remains our top priority. As we announced earlier a charter flight is this afternoon leaving Gatwick Airport for Tripoli to bring British nationals home from Libya.
Over the past week hundreds of British nationals have been able to leave Libya on scheduled flights, many of them assisted by the Foreign Office. However there are, we think, at least three hundred remaining in the Tripoli area and some expected scheduled flights have not materialised so we decided to send these charter flights as rapidly as possible.
We’re one of very few countries to have sent Rapid Deployment Teams, three in total, to Libya so that we have a robust specialist presence on the ground which will be strengthened further tonight. And we’ve also deployed staff to Libya’s border with Tunisia to assist those who have made their way to the border.
We have a team of at least fifty dedicated staff at the Foreign Office working night and day taking calls from British citizens and implementing our emergency plans. Our preference, clearly, is for people to be able to leave on commercial flights as they have been doing or on our specially arranged charter flights as they will now be able to do rather than to send in military flights without permission which is, obviously, riskier for the safety of all those involved although we don’t, by any means, rule out doing that.
No one can be fail to be deeply concerned about the plight of as many as one hundred and seventy British nationals in the desert in Libya, the vast majority of whom work for oil companies in desert camps alongside the nationals of many other countries. These camps are remote, they’re isolated, they are scattered over a large distance, they’re dependent for food or water on supplies from Libyan cities that have been severely disrupted by the violence and unrest and some we know have been subjected to attacks and to looting. They are in a perilous and frightening situation.
We’re working intensively on a range of options to secure their safe passage from Libya, working with other countries whose nationals who are in the same position. We’ve made every effort to contact them and their employers to provide what advice and assistance we can, such efforts have been hampered by extensive disruption to Libyan telecommunication systems over the last few days.
So this is an important message for them, for those individuals. If you have not yet made contact with us you must try to do so. You should contact us on the Foreign Office hotline, that numbers is 44 207 008 000. Any companies employing British nationals in Libya who have not yet made contact with us should also do so on the same number.
Every country we’ve spoken to with nationals in these desert camps is in a similar situation of course, all of us are exploring every avenue to assist our nationals. All of us are conscious that the situation in Libya is very different from that we faced in Tunisia or Egypt over the last few weeks. In those countries there were large protests but chiefly in the urban areas, in Libya what is happening is civil strife; a country split geographically in two, split between Government and people and with a widespread breakdown of law and order.
So we’re taking every action to get the remaining British nationals in Libya out of harms way, we’re greatly concerned about the loss of life in Libya and their Government’s failure to protect its own people, indeed the behaviour of their Government in launching attacks on their own people.
We succeeded yesterday in securing a statement of the UN Security Council and in bringing about a special meeting of the UN Human Rights Council that will be held this Friday.
We believe that those who commit or sanction crimes and human rights abuses in Libya should be held to account. That is our clear message and warning to them for the future, to those in Libya who may be guilty of such acts, that Britain and our partners and allies around the world will be doing everything possible to hold them to account in the future and that will be a major focus of Britain’s diplomacy in the coming days.
We’ll keep you up to date and informed, thank you very much indeed. (*)
Source : UK Embassy in Indonesia Website