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EU Coordinating Possible Evacuation of Citizens From Libya

Spain's Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez talks with the media, prior to the start of an EU foreign ministers meeting at the European Council building in Brussels, February 21, 2011

Spain's foreign minister says the European Union is coordinating the possible evacuation of its citizens from Libya as a deadly uprising against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi spreads to the capital, Tripoli.

Speaking in Brussels Monday, Trinidad Jimenez said EU governments are very concerned about the situation in Libya and are discussing how to cooperate in evacuating EU nationals, particularly from the eastern city of Benghazi, where most of the violence has been concentrated.

Several major European energy companies have operations in Libya, one of Africa's biggest oil producers. Britain's BP said Monday it is preparing to evacuate about 40 expatriate workers from Libya, where it has suspended onshore oil exploration due to the unrest.

Norwegian energy producer Statoil says it already has started pulling out a handful of international staff from Libya and has closed its Tripoli office.

In another development, Turkey says it has evacuated almost 600 of its nationals from Libya after looters raided the facilities of Turkish construction companies in the North African state. Turkish Foreign Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan says there are no reports of Turkish citizens being harmed.

Caglayan says about 200 Turkish construction companies are active in Libya, where they have projects worth more than $15 billion. Turkish television network NTV says Ankara is sending planes and ferries to Libya to evacuate more of its citizens in the coming days.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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