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UK severs ties with Gaddafi regime to release assets

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, July 27, IRNA -- All remaining Libyan embassy staff are being expelled from the UK and members of the Benghazi-based rebels will be asked to take over their embassy building in London, Foreign Secretary William Hague announced Wednesday.

“The Prime Minister and I have decided that the UK recognises and will deal with the National Transitional Council as the sole governmental authority in Libya,' Hague said.

The announcement is part of the British government's continuing campaign to overthrow the Libyan government and comes after Hague was criticised by the International Criminal Court (ICC) after making a u-turn, suggesting that Muammar Gaddafi could remain in Libya if he stepped down from power.

The foreign secretary said the Libyan charge d'affairs was summoned and told all remaining eight Libyan diplomats will be expelled in a move which effectively cuts relations with Gaddafi's regime.

At least seven diplomats have been previously been ordered out of Britain since March, including the Libyan ambassador who was expelled in May, when relations were downgraded.

Answering questions at a specially convened press conference in London, Hague said the cutting of relations with the Gaddafi regime can “help legally in unfreezing of assets”.

The move to recognise the NTC as the sole authority was “unique,” he admitted and said although it was clearly a “political statement” it meant much more and can give greater practical assistance to the rebels.

The British government would deal with the NTC “on the same basis as other governments” and was inviting the NTC to name an envoy to take over the Libyan embassy, the foreign secretary said.

He denied that allowing Gaddafi to remain in Libya if he stepped down represented a change in policy, saying that the outcome was a matter for people of Libya and that Britain cannot dictate a political solution and cannot guarantee that the Libyan leader was sent to the ICC.

Challenged about the military stalemate in enforcing regime change, the British foreign secretary insisted that the intervention under the terms of the UN mandate was “very successful” in saving civilian lives.

He also accepted it was a “mistake” to grant the early release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who has been paraded through the streets of Tripoli, saying that the medical advice suggesting he had terminal cancer was “pretty worthless” but blamed the decision on the previous Labour government.

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