Libya''s Bangla envoy resigns

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Anisur Rahman

Dhaka, Feb 22 (PTI) Libya''s ambassador to Bangladeshquit his official position, apparently as a reaction to theviolence back home, joining a number of other officials todefect from the Muammer Gaddafi''s government.

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes said todaythat Libyan ambassador to Bangladesh, A H Elimam, had informedthe government in Dhaka of his decision to resign from hisposition, confirming an earlier report.

He, however, said Elimam did not site any reason forhis resignation and added that the second man in the embassywould discharge his duties.

Officials had earlier said the envoy informed theforeign office in Dhaka about his decision yesterday.

Media reports earlier suggested Elimam decided to giveup his loyalty to the Gaddafi regime as several of hisrelatives were killed in government actions against protestorsin recent days.

A number of officials of the Libyan regime, includingthe country''s ambassador to India and its envoy to the22-member Arab League have already quit in protest of theviolent crackdown launched on the protesters by the governmentin Tripoli and elsewhere.

Libya''s envoys at the United Nations have also accusedhim of committing genocide.

Bangladesh, meanwhile, said it will evacuate itsnationals from the troubled Benghazi city of Libya, which iswitnessing a massive pro-democracy upsurge over the past week.

"We have planned to evacuate our nationals fromBenghazi, currently the most troubled city of Libya... in factthe process has started already," Foreign Minister Dipu Monitold a group of newsmen at her office here today.

She said Dhaka was closely observing developments inLibya and keeping constant contact with its mission in, whiletalks were underway with the concerned internationalorganisations for emergency activities like evacuation.

Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment MinisterMosharraf Hossain at a briefing later said the government took"all necessary measures to ensure security of Bangladeshiworkers" in Libya and other Middle Eastern nations.

"There is nothing to panick. If needed, UN assistancewould be sought," he told the press briefing at his office atBangladesh Secretariat.

He said the government is trying to contact the Libyanauthorities through the official channel following thepublication of a report in newspapers that 100 Bangladeshishave been kept hostage in a community centre in Benghazi.

Foreign Secretary Quayes ruled out reports thatBangladeshis were taken hostage, saying according to the"last information we received, all Bangladeshis in Libya arein a safe state, none were injured or kept hostage".

Hossain said the Bangladesh mission opened a controlroom to take measures for security of 60,000 expatriateBangladeshis and monitor their conditions, while his officewas also in contact with the overseas recruiting agencies. PTIAR

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