Tuesday, August 12, 2014


 Jakarta, Aug 12, 2014 (Antara) - The Indonesian government recently evacuated its citizens from Libya and warned others not to visit the strife-ravaged country where violence has been steadily escalating across several of its cities.
        The civil war in Libya has killed more than 220 people, wounded some one thousand, and forced many foreign nationals to flee Libya lately.
        In a statement released on August 7, 2014, the Indonesian foreign affairs ministry stated that a total of 122 Indonesians living in Libya had been evacuated since July 29 by land via Ras Jedir to Tunis, in coordination with the Indonesian embassies in Tripoli and Tunis.
         The evacuation had been carried out in three batches, with the first on July 29 involving 34 citizens, the second on August 1 involving 51 nationals, and the third on August 3 involving 37 citizens.

          The ministry reported that some difficulties were encountered during the evacuation of the second batch because hundreds of Egyptian nationals were seeking to enter Tunisia.
          However, the Indonesians were finally able to enter Tunisia with security protection arranged by the Indonesian embassies in Tripoli and Tunis.
         During the evacuation of the third batch, Indonesian Ambassador to Libya Raudin Anwar joined to ensure a smooth process along with Libyan and Tunisian immigration officials.
          Of the total 122 citizens evacuated from Libya, 66 had already returned to Indonesia, while the rest are still being sheltered at the Indonesian Embassy in Tunis awaiting repatriation to Indonesia.
         In 2011, the Indonesian foreign ministry had evacuated a total of 570 Indonesians from Libya to Tunisia, and they were later repatriated to Indonesia.
        The Indonesian foreign affairs ministry recently noted that the Indonesian Embassy in Tripoli will continue to monitor and contact its citizens in Libya and appeal to them to immediately leave the country. 
    The Indonesian Embassy in Tripoli has provided telephone numbers to citizens who want to be part of the next evacuation process.
         Following the success of the evacuation, Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam lauded the foreign ministry's efforts to rescue Indonesian citizens from Libya.
        "We thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Indonesian embassies in Libya and Tunisia for their quick actions to rescue the Indonesian citizens," Dipo Alam remarked in a statement posted on the official website of the cabinet secretary.
         Alam hoped that during the next evacuation, the foreign ministry will continue to prioritize safety and security of the Indonesians who were trapped in war-torn Tripoli.
         According to the foreign affairs ministry's data, 186 Indonesian nationals are still in Libya. The ministry hoped that the remaining Indonesians in Libya will join the next evacuation process.
         The Indonesian government, however, has no plans to evacuate its ambassador and diplomatic staff members from Tripoli.
         Meanwhile, Ambassador Raudin Anwar has cautioned Indonesians against visiting Libya as the situation has deteriorated.
         "No Indonesian should go to Libya, or if they plan to go, the visit should be postponed," he stated in Tripoli, on August 6, 2014.
        For Indonesian citizens trapped in Libya, he urged them to stay vigilant, monitor the situation, and try to flee the country at the next available opportunity.
         "To the Indonesians in Libya, we urge you to report your whereabouts to the Indonesian embassy in Tripoli," he added.
          AFP reported that since mid-July, Libya has seen escalated clashes between rival militias in Tripoli and in the eastern city of Benghazi.
          Foreigners were also killed in the clashes in Libya. Some 100 Ghanians, 18 Sudanese, and five Bangladeshi were killed in the oil-rich country.
         Those killings have incited an exodus of foreigners from the Middle Eastern country. Thailand has evacuated a total of 462 Thai workers from Libya since August 2. Besides workers, 11 Thai students and four other Thai nationals have also been evacuated to Thailand from Libya so far.
         Another fellow ASEAN member country, the Philippines announced that it will send a ship to facilitate the transportation of at least 700 of its citizens trapped in Libya.
        The Philippine government declared that it has sought the assistance of humanitarian network Libyan Red Crescent Society in providing security to more than two thousand Filipino evacuees who will be ferried out of war-torn Libya.
         As of August 5, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) claimed that 436 Filipinos have registered for evacuation by sea in Benghazi and the surrounding areas and 602 from Misrata and adjoining areas.
        Since the onset of the bloody conflict in Libya several years ago, the Indonesian government has called for immediate enforcement of ceasefire and a peaceful solution.
         During a working meeting held on March 28, 2011, with the House of Representatives' Commission-I, which is in charge of international affairs, Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa stated that Indonesia strongly condemned the violence in Libya and proposed national reconciliation.
        Indonesia urged the UN to immediately hold a peacekeeping mission in Libya to ensure the implementation of a ceasefire in the Middle Eastern country.
        "We have conveyed Indonesia's stance on the Libyan issue during the UN International Human Rights Assembly held some time ago," the minister noted.
        On February 24, 2011, Indonesia had sent an official letter to the UN Secretary General voicing its concern on the situation in Libya.
        "We see the need for all parties to allow humanitarian approach in Libya to ensure the safety of the residents there. A political dialogue must be promoted there," Marty asserted. 

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