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Libyan Embassy in Nairobi hoists new flag

By | Published Fri, September 30th 2011 at 00:00, Updated Fri, September 30th 2011 at 00:00 GMT +3

By David Ochami

Libya's Embassy in Nairobi has hoisted the red, green and black flag of the new National Transitional Council (NTC).

The raising of the tricolour flag on Thursday afternoon was the latest act of normalisation of relations between NTC and the Kenyan Government following last Friday’s meeting between Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetang’ula and NTC’s Prime Minister Mohamed Jibril in New York.

On Monday, embassy officials pulled down its old name-Jamahiriya House — named after deposed Muammar Gaddafi’s system of government — and are preparing to rename the building on Nairobi’s Loita Street as Libya House.

UN meeting

On Thursday, Libya’s ambassador Hisham Ali Shariff did not give a speech about the hoisting of the flag but on Sunday he told The Standard that the new flag would be hoisted following Friday’s meeting in New York.

"I already have the (tricolour) flag here and I’m going to hoist it," said Hisham.

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He also disclosed that the Libyan mission in Nairobi "was behind the meeting between Wetang’ula and the Libyan delegation" attending the 66th UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

The tricolour flag replaces the all green flag introduced by Gaddafi after his 1969 revolution.

Wetang’ula and Jibril discussed the political situation in Libya with the Kenyan pledging to reopen Kenya’s embassy in Tripoli "as soon as conditions are conducive".

During the discussions Wetang’ula complained about attacks on its properties in Libya by "persons claiming to represent the NTC" and sought security guarantees from the new authorities.

A report prepared after the discussions said: "In the last fortnight, the Kenyan embassy has been subjected to several attacks by persons claiming to represent the NTC."

The statement dated September 23 does not provide details but The Standard has learnt that on September 15 gunmen from the NTC attacked the Kenyan residence demanding that the Kenyan Government cancels its lease of the property.

The attackers entered the property and ransacked it, according to Libyan staff there but found no Kenyan because the only Kenyan envoy in those parts, a Mr Mustafa, is operating from the Tunisia’s coastal resort of Djerba.

In Friday’s meeting Wetang’ula conveyed Kenya’s permission for Mr Hisham to "fly the new Libyan flag" and received assurances from Jibril that the new regime will form a special security unit to protect foreign embassies and missions in Libya.

Hisham is Libya’s longest serving envoy in Kenya, having arrived in Kenya in 2000 as third secretary of the then newly reopened embassy following its closure in 1987.

He remained in Kenya as most envoys at the mission, either defected to the NTC were recalled during the Libyan uprising.

However one former diplomat who left in July has, returned to Nairobi, without explanation.


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