Situation in Libya very grave: S.M. Krishna

By Prashant Sood, IANS
Friday, February 25, 2011

KUWAIT - Describing the situation in Libya as very grave, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Friday said India was closely watching the developments in the region hit by unrest and advocated democracy in the fast-changing scenario.

Replying to questions on board his special aircraft to Kuwait, Krishna also reiterated that India does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries,

He will represent India at the 50th anniversary celebrations of Kuwait’s independence of.

Asked about the situation in Libya, Krishna said it was “obviously bad”.

“I think it is a very grave situation,” he added.

He said on the one side, the people and the forces had taken over some parts of Libya and “at the same time Mr (Muammar) Gaddafi claims he is in control”.

“The government is closely watching the situation,” he said.

Asked about the role of India as a democracy in the prevailing situation in some countries of the Arab world, he said that the country does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

He said depending on the situation developing, India will certainly try to position itself so as to be “advocating the cause of democracy which is so dear to India’s heart”, he said.

He denied that the government had been slow in responding to the situation and said permissions were required from the Libyan authorities for landing of aircraft in Tripoli.

The minister said two Indian aircraft will be reaching Tripoli for evacuation of Indians from the North African country.

Two aircraft will be reaching Tripoli in the later part of today. We are hoping evacuation from Tripoli to Alexandria (in Egypt) can take place and from there other arrangements can be made, Krishna said.

Krishna said that the evacuation efforts were being tied up by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, who heads the inter-ministerial committee set up by the government.

The minister said the government had already said that it does not charge for evacuation and people should be wary of those trying to exploit the situation.

The government has also chartered a 1,200 seater passenger ferry which is on its way to Benghazi. There are at least 18,000 Indians in Libya, including an estimated 3,000 in Benghazi, where the airport has been rendered unusable due to fighting.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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