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UN evacuates Libya staff

14 July 2014, 20:31

Tripoli - The United Nations announced on Monday it was evacuating its remaining staff from Libya because of a deteriorating security situation, a day after deadly clashes closed the country's main airport.

"UNSMIL [United Nations Support Mission in Libya] temporarily withdrawing staff from Libya because of security situation," the mission, which already pulled out dozens of personnel last week, said in a statement.

"After the latest fighting on Sunday and because of the closure of Tripoli international airport, the mission concluded that it would not be possible to continue its work ... while at the same time ensuring the security and safety of its staff," it said.

"This is a temporary measure. Staff will return as soon as security conditions permit. The United Nations, which stood by the Libyan people in their revolution in 2011, will not abandon them as they seek to build a democratic state."

Witnesses said a UN convoy left Tripoli on Sunday by road headed for the Tunisian border, 170km to the west.

Tripoli international airport was shut down for three days on Sunday after the Zintan militia which controls it came under attack by Islamist fighters.

At least six people were killed in heavy exchanges of fire, a health ministry official said.



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