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Rediff.com  » News » No refuge or visa for Gaddafi: UK

No refuge or visa for Gaddafi: UK

February 28, 2011 19:53 IST
Britain, which has already revoked Muammar Gaddafi's diplomatic immunity on Monday, ruled out giving refuge to the Libyan dictator who is "responsible for deaths of hundreds of civilians."

The United Kingdon has already frozen assets of the leader and his family. Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said if Gaddafi wants to flee to Britain, he will have to apply for a visa but will be denied entry. "This means that Colonel Gaddafi and those forming part of his household will not be able to enter the UK," a foreign office official said.

Speaking after Britain's successful mission to rescue 150 nationals from the Libyan desert, the British Prime Minister David Cameron said, "All of this sends a clear message to this regime -- it is time for Colonel Gaddafi to go and to go now. There is no future for Libya that includes him."

Britain earlier froze the assets which Gaddafi and his family have held in London and also revoked the embattled leader's diplomatic immunity.

 "We are now putting serious pressure on this regime," Cameron said. "The travel ban and the asset freeze are the measures we are taking against the regime to show just how isolated they are," he added.

Describing the situation in Libya as a matter of "grave concern", the directive said the UK has determined not to provide a refuge for people like Gaddafi due to their association with the "deaths of hundreds of civilians and the incitement to hostility and violence against the civilian population made from the highest level of the Libyan government."

Britain has also taken action to freeze assets of the Libyan regime, and to impose export controls on Libyan banknotes.

Over the years, many rebels and disgraced or out-of-power leaders of various countries have taken refuge in London and Britain, but the David Cameron government has decided not to allow Gaddafi entry or refuge in the country.

In a directive issued on Sunday, Hague removed the exemption from normal UK immigration controls that applied previously to Gaddafi, and members of his household, as the head of state of Libya.

Britain has always welcomed controversial leaders, including liberal nationalist revolutionaries as the Hungarian Lajos Kossuth and the Italian Giuseppe Mazzini in the nineteenth century, and the exiled French Emperor Napoleon III, who spent the last three years of his life at Chislehurst's Camden Place.