News / Middle East

US Evacuates Embassy in Libya Amid Unrest

The United States has temporarily closed its embassy in Libya and evacuated the staff to neighboring Tunisia because of heavy fighting near the embassy site in Tripoli.

The State Department says it has suspended embassy operations due to "ongoing violence between Libyan militias."

In a Saturday statement, officials also recommended that U.S. citizens in Libya depart immediately.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said "freewheeling militia violence" is taking place in the capital. And although a lot of the violence in Tripoli is not targeting the embassy, he said, the "very real risk" to personnel prompted the decision to evacuate diplomatic staff overland to Tunisia, from where they will move on to other locations to continue efforts to ease the unrest.

"We are deeply committed and remain committed to the diplomatic process in Libya," Kerry told media in Paris on Saturday, where he is meeting with other diplomats on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Our envoy will continue to be engaged with the British envoy and other envoys. ... We call on all Libyans to engage in the political process and to come together in order to avoid the violence."

On Friday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced it had suspended operations at its embassy in Tripoli and moved more than 500 Turkish nationals to Tunisia.

Rival militias are battling for control in Tripoli at a time when a weak central government is riven by divisions between Islamist, tribal, and nationalist factions. Recent weeks have seen some of the country's deadliest fighting since former leader Moammar Gadhafi was ousted in 2011.

Nearly 50 people were killed during clashes between Islamist-led fighters from Misrata and Zintan rebels earlier this month as the groups fought for control of the airport.

The Libyan government and parliament have struggled in their efforts to control the militias.

The State Department says Libya's security situation remains "unpredictable and unstable," and that the government has not been able to "adequately build its military and police forces" following the 2011 revolution. Many "military-grade weapons" have remained in the hands of private individuals, officials say.

The security of U.S. personnel in Libya remains a sensitive issue, after four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in a 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

The International Criminal Court is investigating the current violence.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Heidi from: Santa Cruz
July 26, 2014 10:21 PM
Those Republican clowns. Isn't there Something in the Constitution that can stop their TRAITORISTIC blockages of being able to keep our country functioning? THEY ARE TRAITORS! Their racism will bring us down in flames. They're worse then Al Qaeda . We invade a country on false pretenses, their idea and now they are trying to destroy us in our own country. Isn't being a traitor something punished by a firing squad?

by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
July 26, 2014 3:57 PM
What is going on with the US ?I guess with this administration when the going gets turf the US evacuates and run, I wonder what message is been sent to its allies than sand and fight with the impression the US will remain besides them when the going gets turf?this is a very wrong message Obama's administration is sending out to the world.

by: meanbill from: USA
July 26, 2014 11:48 AM
US President Barack Obama "quote" said it, on June 29, 2011, after taking part with (NATO) forces in bombing Libya back to the stone ages, and killing Qaddafi; .. "We've protected thousands of people in Libya; We have not seen a single American casualty; (There's no risk of additional escalation).. This operation is limited in time and scope."

Obama also "quote" said it; "What I am opposed to is a dumb war" .... (so now), Libya and the world, can thank Obama for his leadership, in leading the (smart) Libyan war and killing Qaddafi, that led to the violence, killings, destruction and the many militia wars, that continues on to this day? .... (YEA, thank Obama for it)..... it was a smart war? ..... REALLY?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs