By Adekunle Aliyu with Agency Report
LONDON (AFP) – British Foreign Secretary William Hague Wednesday invited Libya’s rebel council to appoint an envoy to take over the Libyan embassy in London after expelling diplomats loyal to Moamer Kadhafi.
“We are inviting the National Transitional Council to appoint a new Libyan diplomatic envoy to take over the Libyan embassy in London,” Hague said at a news conference in London
All Libyan diplomats were told to leave the UK as part of efforts to show Col Gaddafi his “legitimacy has come to an end”, William Hague has said.
He said Gaddafi-regime embassy staff were being expelled and the rebel National Transitional Council invited to take their place.
The UK foreign secretary said it was a clear “political statement” but denied it was gesture politics.
Libyan ambassador to the UK Omar Jelban was expelled in May.
He was asked to leave following an attack on the British ambassador’s residence in the Libyan capital Tripoli.
Libyan rebels and pro-Gaddafi forces are still locked in battle, five months after an uprising began against Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, as Nato continues to enforce a UN-backed no-fly zone over the country.
This week Mr Hague suggested Col Gaddafi may not have to go into exile should he leave power – saying it was a “question for the Libyans”.
It is thought that eight Libyan diplomats remain at the embassy in Knightsbridge.
The Libyan charge d’affaires was called to the Foreign Office on Wednesday to be told all Libyan diplomats will be expelled.
Mr Hague also outlined measures to unfreeze assets to help support the Libyan people and the National Transitional Council, which Mr Hague said the UK would be dealing with as the “sole governmental authority”.
The UK embassy in Tripoli suspended operations in February.
Asked about reports all remaining diplomats were due to be expelled, a spokeswoman at the Libyan embassy told the BBC she had not heard that adding: “We have no response at the moment.