Wed, Sep 21, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan to reopen Tripoli office when stable: Yang

ONGOING TENSIONS:MOFA said a ‘United Evening News’ report was mistaken when it said national security had ordered the office closed on Sept. 4

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Taiwan will reopen its representative office in Libya, whose operations were suspended on Feb. 21 amid political turmoil, once the situation becomes stable and clear, Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) said yesterday.

However, the ministry did not set a timeframe for resuming operations at the mission because of the uncertainty and ongoing political tensions in the country.

Yang made the remarks during a question-and-answer session in the legislature in response to a query from Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Peng Shao-chin (彭紹瑾).

The Chinese-language United Evening News yesterday reported that the country’s national security authorities on Sept. 4 had ordered the closure of the Taiwan Commercial Office in Tripoli, the country’s only overseas mission in northern Africa, and evacuated all personnel.

The order came after Ma Chao-yuan (馬超遠), the country’s representative to Libya, and other Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials were confronted by Libyan Transnational Council fighters as well as forces loyal to toppled Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi on various occasions after they had returned to the country to reopen the office, the United Evening News said.

However, Samuel Chen (陳士良), director-general of the ministry’s Department of African Affairs, said the report did not conform to the facts.

Ma, who was transferred to the ministry’s Department of West Asian Affairs after returning from Libya, returned to that country last month not to resume the office, but to deal with the aftermath of the Taiwanese mission’s hasty departure earlier this year, such as retrieving personal belongings and terminating housing contracts, Chen said.

Chen said the suggestion proposed by the ministry to temporarily suspend the office was approved by the Executive Yuan on July 20, not by national security authorities as the newspaper had reported.

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