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Manila urges Filipinos to leave amid Libya chaos Alert Level 3 for 13,122 Pinoys

KUALA LUMPUR, May 29, (Agencies): Philippines Foreign Ministry advises nationals to leave Libya soon over deterioration of security situation. “In view of the worsening security situation in Libya, where an estimated 13,122 Filipinos reside, Crisis Alert Level was raised from Level 2 (Restriction Phase) to Level 3 (Voluntary Repatriation Phase) effective Thursday, May 29,” the Ministry said in a press release Thursday.

“Under Crisis Alert Level 3, Filipinos in Libya are encouraged to leave the country voluntarily as soon as possible.” The statement added that the Philippine government will shoulder the repatriation cost. It noted that the decision was taken after a visit by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario to Tripoli, Libya on May 28 and the meeting with Philippine Embassy officials and the Rapid Response Team there to implement the government’s contingency plan. “Filipinos in Libya are further advised to contact the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli to coordinate their repatriation,” concluded the statement.

On May 27, the US and Britain urged their citizens to depart Libya immediately over the growing concerns over their safety with the deterioration of the security situation there. Three years after the overthrow of former autocratic leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is gripped by political turmoil that has left the government struggling to assert its authority over armed groups. Elsewhere, the Secretariat-General of the Arab Interior Ministers’ Council strongly condemned the terrorist attack on Tuesday night, against Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou’s home in Kasserine which left four policemen dead.

In a press statement, the Secretariat- General described the attack as a “cowardly criminal” act that would only strengthen Tunisian security force’s determination to uproot terrorism and fulfill their national duty. It added that the attack would also increase Tunisian people support to security forces to counter this phenomenon. The Secretariat offered condolences to families of the victims. Arab foreign ministers of nations adjoining Libya agreed in their meeting here on laying out a mechanism that achieves a national dialogue and a course of democracy and stability for Libya, said a final statement issued by the meeting.

This mechanism is to be jointly activated by the Arab League, the African Union along with the adjoining countries of Tunisia, Chad, Sudan, Egypt, Niger, and Algeria to set down “ a road map to assist conflicting factions in Libya” to lay the foundation for a modern state with effective institutions, said the final statement. Furthermore, the statement averred the adjoining nations’ solidarity with the Libyan people as they transition their country into a state with well-protected borders and complete independence with no chance for outside interference.

The convening foreign ministers also agreed to have their next meeting on the crisis in Libya to take place in Tunisia with yet another meeting subsequently in Egypt to address securing the border between it and Libya. The ministers furthermore were of one mind to fight terrorism, arms smuggling, drugs, and illegal migration, promising at the same time to send a high level delegation representing them to Libya to express their solidarity with the Libyan people. Libya stumbled deeper into chaos on Thursday uncertain over who runs the country after rival prime ministers both claimed legitimacy in a confrontation threatening to turn into violence among rival factions.

Even by Libya’s tumultuous standards, the North African oil producing state has veered closer to its most dangerous crisis in the three years since a NATO-backed uprising helped rebels put an end to Muammar Gaddafi’s one-man rule. After a contested vote in parliament three weeks ago, businessman Ahmed Maiteeq was appointed as Libya’s third prime minister in two months with backing from Islamists and independents in the splintered General National Congress (GNC). On Wednesday, his predecessor acting Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni refused to hand over power after questioning the legality of Maiteeq’s appointment by a parliament that many Libyans blame for their slow democratic advance.

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