Foreign Secretary Rao reviews Libya situation with MEA officials

New Delhi, Feb.25 (ANI): Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao on Friday met with senior Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) officials to review the developing situation in Libya and the efforts underway to facilitate the assisted departure (evacuation) of Indian nationals.

According to a MEA statement, two Air India aircrafts, a Boeing 747 and Airbus 330, are likely to leave Mumbai and New Delhi respectively, for Tripoli early on Saturday morning to take part in the proposed evacuation process.

The Boeing 747 and Airbus 330 have a passenger capacity of 360 and 280 respectively. They are expected to return to India late on Saturday evening.

Officials of the Indian Embassy in Tripoli are in touch with Indian community associations and will be at the airport to facilitate the departure of the evacuees.

Scotia Prince the passenger ship chartered by Government of India is now expected to dock at Benghazi (Libya) on onday and take over 1200 passengers to the Egyptian city of Alexandria on March 2, the MEA statement said. Air India flights will thereafter fly them to India.

Around 150 Indian nationals from the Tobruk (Libya) are likely to travel by road to Salloum which is near the border with Egypt.

They are being assisted by the Embassy of India and are likely to cross over in two batches on 26th and 28th February.

At Salloum they would be met by Indian embassy personnel from Cairo, who are already in position.

The MEA statement said that the Egyptian government has graciously agreed to facilitate visas on arrival at the border. Arrangements are being made for their travel onwards by road to Cairo and next by air to India. he Indian Navy vessel INS Jalashwa, accompanied by the INS Mysore, is expected to leave Mumbai shortly for Libya, to assist in the operations underway.

An Indian Air Force IL 76 aircraft is also on standby to meet additional transportation requirements wherever needed.

The MEA statement said that the embassies in Tripoli, Cairo and Tunis are working round the clock and added that the Government is doing its best to assist in the safe return of Indian nationals at the earliest. (ANI)

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