Rudd says Libya in grip of civil war, urges Aussies to leave

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Dubai, Feb.26 (ANI): Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has urged Australians residing in Libya to get out of the country as soon as possible, as it effectively is in a state of civil war.

Speaking from Dubai en route to meetings with the new Egyptian government, Rudd said: "The country has degenerated into effective civil war and this is of grave concern in terms of the wellbeing of Australians."

Sky News and the Herald Sun further quoted him, as saying: "We have made arrangements with British and other governments for charter flights leaving Tripoli today. We urge all Australians to make their way to Tripoli airport by first light to get on charter flights."

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said 35 Australians plus the Consul-General and two consular staff were currently registered as still being in Libya.

Another 17 departed Tripoli for Malta on board two ferries during the week.

"We continue to try to contact six Australians we have not yet been able to reach, including two Australians being detained," a DFAT spokesman said.

The spokesman added: "Efforts to contact Australians in Libya have been hampered by disruptions to local communications networks. To date, we have not been allowed consular access to either of the detained men." (ANI)

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