Eighty Chinese nationals to be evacuated from Libya

Updated: 2014-07-31 20:13


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ATHENS -- Eighty Chinese nationals were among the dozens of people to be evacuated from Libya by a Greek navy frigate during an operation which was underway on Thursday and was due to be finished by Friday, Greek government sources told Xinhua.

Frigate "Salamis" was initially dispatched to carry to safety all seven diplomats serving at Greece's embassy in Tripoli and Greek expatriates of the 80-member strong Greek community in the area.

The Greek government received requests from other countries, including China, to assist their citizens also leaving the north African country, as clashes between militias were escalating.

According to sources in Athens, the Chinese was the biggest group of foreign nationals to be evacuated with Greece's help. Apart from Greeks, there were also Cypriots, British, French, Maltese, Russians and Albanians.

"Salamis" sailed to Tripoli supported by a second Greek navy vessel "Promitheus", according to sources, while Greek-flagged merchant ship "Eleftherios Venizelos" was due to join the operation, since the number of requests for assistance to evacuate citizens from the war torn country was on the rise.

Libya has witnessed a drastic escalation of violence since the 2011 turmoil which toppled its former leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Some analysts feared that the recent battle between armed Islamist groups and pro-secular forces in major cities, including Tripoli and Benghazi, could easily turn into a full-fledged civil war.

In spring of 2011 "Eleftherios Venizelos" was among the Greek vessels which carried more than 35,000 Chinese citizens from Libya to the Greek island of Crete from where they returned to China by chartered flights.

It has not been clarified in which port "Salamis" will dock in at the end of the operation.