CAIRO: Egypt has harshly condemned the Friday storming of the Tunisian embassy in Libya and the kidnapping of 10 of its staff by armed gunmen, according to a Saturday statement by the Foreign Ministry.
“Sanctity of diplomatic missions and the safety of their staff should be respected in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular and Diplomatic Relations,” Badr Abdel Atty, the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, said in the statement.
The Tunisian government is closely following the situation and is negotiating with the abductors to ensure the safe return of its kidnapped staff, Egypt’s MENA reported undersecretary Tunisian Foreign Ministry Al-Tohamy al-Abdouly as saying.
For its part, the Tunisian Foreign Ministry condemned the incident as a “blatant attack on Tunisian national sovereignty and a flagrant violation of international laws and diplomatic norms,” according to Reuters.
Libya has been dragged into a security vacuum since 2011; the lawlessness has increased after Islamist militias controlled wide swaths of the country. The Libyan government’s headquarters was pushed from the capital Tripoli to the east in Tobruk; a city close to Egyptian borders.
In November 2014, bombings rocked the area near the Egyptian and United Arab Emirates embassies in Tripoli; both Egypt and UAE had closed their embassies prior to the attacks.
In mid-February, 20 Egyptian Copts, who were abducted by Libya’s Islamic State (IS) group, were beheaded. Subsequently, the Egyptian army launched airstrikes on Libya’s Derna, claiming that dozens of the group’s members were killed.
In May, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that Egyptian army rescued a group of Ethiopians who had been kidnapped in Libya, and later arrived in Cairo airport to head back to their country.