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Delhi: Libyan embassy staff support protests

March 04, 2011 17:39 IST

There is a lull in the Libyan Embassy in New Delhi. None of the diplomats want to talk, for they have all spoken against the Gaddafi regime. They have condemned the horrendous attacks on the protestors in the country and the regime and in the process might have just invited condemnation themselves.

After much persuasion, the security guard outside the Embassy lets me in. An Indian telephone operator/receptionist at the reception says that the second highest ranking diplomat in the Embassy, Salah Bin Aamer Mohamed Abdul Salam, has issued express orders that he did not want to meet or talk to any journalists. Abdul Salam had taken charge of the Embassy after the Ambassador Ali Al-Essawi resigned in protest against the violence on civilians in Libya.

Finally a diplomat, who understandably did not want to be named, agreed to talk to us.

"The Embassy staffers have all openly supported the cause of the protestors. You must realize that Gaddafi is a very powerful man. With this one act of ours, we could end up homeless. That is why nobody is ready to talk," the diplomat says.

After diplomats of several countries declared their support for the people's cause in Libya, the Embassy in Delhi followed suit. They issued a statement, which was sent to Al Jazeera channel, in which they announced their "fully (sic) alignment for the people's revolution, successful revolution of 17th February (sic)".

Saying that "we, the members of diplomatic corp in the Libyan Embassy in Delhi show our sympathy for the souls of martyrs who died for the freedom of Libya",

the statement goes onto say that they now "represent the Libyan people and its civil establishment." The statement has officially declared the Gaddafi regime a "former regime.….and we do not represent the former regime, which violated the religion and tradition and international conventions and human rights. The bloods of Libyan people is very precious and we would not bargain it at any cost and the revolution will be succeeded on the tyrant," the statement says.

The diplomat said that the statement was signed by Abdul Salam, but represented the sentiments of all the diplomats in the embassy."We support the cause of the Libyans. Too long have the atrocities been committed. And the use of such uncalled for violence is barbarous. It just goes on to say how desperate the regime really is. The truth about Gaddafi has finally come out in the open," the diplomat says.

When asked what prompted the statement, considering the fact that unlike in other countries, there were no protests outside the Embassy in Delhi, the diplomat said," It is not about protests. It is about siding with what is right. Before us, the Embassies in Kaula Lampur, Austria and Morocco announced that they were with the Libyan people. After us, many diplomats, including those from the Arab world declared their alliance to the people," the diplomat says.

When asked why the Embassy staffers were silent when Al-Essawi announced his resignation, the diplomat says, "Unlike Al-Essawi, we have not resigned from our posts. We continue in our respective positions, but we no longer represent the Gaddafi regime, instead, we represent the Libyan people and will continue doing so. Gaddafi has to step down."

Sahim Salim in New Delhi