Sunday, November 7, 2010

Persona Non Grata

U.S. diplomats have been thrown out of better places before, but Reuters is reporting today that a member of the U.S. Mission to Libya has been ordered to depart immediately.

Libya has ordered a diplomat at the United States embassy in Tripoli to leave the country within 24 hours for breaching diplomatic rules, two Libyan newspapers reported on Sunday.

The Libyan authorities gave no confirmation of the reports while a spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, contacted by Reuters, said he had no comment. In Washington, the State Department said it had no immediate comment.

"The Libyan authorities asked the Political Affairs Secretary at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli to leave Libya within 24 hours," the Internet edition of the Oea newspaper reported.

Citing what it called informed sources, the newspaper said the expulsion followed the diplomat's visit to the city of Ifrane, 130 km (80 miles) south-west of the capital.

The was "considered by the Libyan authorities to be contrary to the rules and norms of diplomacy," the newspaper said, without giving any more details.

A second Libyan newspaper, Quryna, also reported that a U.S. diplomat had been ordered to leave the country.

Since these things are run on the basis of reciprocity, no doubt some as-yet-unnamed Libyan member of their U.S. Mission will be packing his bags tomorrow.

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