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Zimbabwe cancels earlier decision to allow Libyan envoy to stay

Tuesday August 30 2011


HARARE, Tuesday

Zimbabwe today expelled the Libyan ambassador and his embassy staff despite an earlier pledge to pardon them if they hoisted deposed leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s flag at the mission.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had announced that it had asked Ambassador Taher El Megrahi’s to leave the country immediately.

This was after the ambassador and Libyan embassy employees defected to the war torn country’s National Transitional Council (NTC).

They replaced the uni-green Libyan flag with NTC’S stripped flag.

On Monday Mr El Magrahi was told they can stay on condition that they hoisted Col Gaddafi’s flag.


But today Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said the ambassador had been given 72 hours to leave Zimbabwe.

“The government of Zimbabwe does not recognise the NTC as the government and representative of the people of Libya,” Mr Mumbengegwi said.

“Once you renounce the authority that gave you the letter of credence and then proceed to pledge alliance to another authority it means that act deprives you or your diplomatic standing.”

The defection by the Libyans has become a major headache for President Robert Mugabe’s coalition government.

Other parties in the unity government are against the deportations saying Zimbabwe must be sensitive about the transition taking place in Libya.