Tripoli in Tranquility as Foreign Nationals Continue to Flee

Tripoli, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) — As migrants of various nationalities were continuing to flee Libya, the Libyan capital was experiencing a tranquil weekend, with the portraits of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi still posted on the streets.

In the early morning of Saturday, Xinhua reporters arrived at the international airport of Tripoli where thousands of foreign nationals were waiting to get out of the country.

The Xinhua reporters were among the foreign journalists invited on Thursday by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of the Libyan leader, to come to the country to report the “truth.”

On the way to the hotel designated by the Libyan government to host the foreign journalists, the streets were quiet and clean.

Most shops were closed, and the portraits of Gaddafi were still adorned with the streets where there were no tanks or other armored vehicles.

At the hotel, a Libyan official urged reporters to visit anywhere, interview any person and ask any question in the capital.

In the downtown Green Square, hundreds of people were chanting their support for Gaddafi. Posters and billboards supporting the Libyan leader were seen everywhere.

“It’s normal that people ask for change, but change should not be accomplished at one stroke, but step by step,” said a retired diplomat who was enjoying sunshine at a cafe nearby.

On Friday night, at the square, Gaddafi said he was “one of the people” when addressing a crowd of more than 1,000 supporters.

“We can defeat any aggression if necessary and arm the people,” said the embattled leader.

He meanwhile called on his supporters to get ready to fight for Libya, for dignity, and for petroleum.

As reports said pro-government troops had engaged in fierce fighting with anti-government armed forces in Misurata, east of Tripoli, and Az-Zawiyah, west of the capital, foreigners were continuing to flee Libya.

The International Federation of the Red Cross, the world’s largest disaster relief organization, said Saturday that more than 25,000 people including 5,000 foreign nationals had crossed from Libya to Tunisia.

On the same day, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his country had evacuated 14,776 people, including 579 foreigners.

As of Sunday, more than 20,000 Chinese nationals had been evacuated, according to China’s Foreign Ministry.

Besides, some foreign embassies in Libya have also started to evacuate their staff.

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Saturday imposing sanctions on Libya, including an arms embargo against the country and a travel ban and asset freeze against Gaddafi and his key family members.

The Security Council decided that “all member states shall immediately take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya …of arms and related material of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts,” the resolution said.

The travel ban is to be imposed on Gaddafi, his key family members, including Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam, and high-ranking officials of the Tripoli regime, the resolution said.

The Security Council “decides that all member states shall freeze without delay all funds, other financial assets and economic resources which are on their territories, which are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly,” by the listed individuals or entities of Libya, the resolution said.

Gaddafi has said that he would not leave his country but rather die “as a martyr.”


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