Ministerial Statement on Libya: Tuesday, February 22, 4 p.m.

(No. 76 - February 22, 2011 - 9:55 p.m. ET) The following is an edited transcript of a statement made to media by the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the situation in Libya. The statement was made at Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada headquarters at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22, 2011:

"As you know, the situation in Libya is highly unpredictable. The Government of Canada vigorously condemns all use of force against innocent protestors. The outrageous abuse of power by security forces must stop.

"Colonel Gaddafi’s remarks today proved to be defiant and worrisome.

"The safety and security of Canadian citizens is the primary concern of the Government of Canada.

"That is why we are advising Canadians to leave Libya. We are making arrangements to provide transportation to locations in Europe.

"We are now acquiring the necessary landing rights into Libya, and expect to have an evacuation flight from Tripoli by Thursday, February 24.

"Canada is also working very closely with like-minded countries, including France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, to secure seats for our citizens.

"In order to expedite evacuation arrangements, our Emergency Operations Centre will be calling all Canadian citizens currently in Libya who are registered with our Registration of Canadians Abroad service to inquire about their travel intentions.

"The number of Canadians registered with us currently stands at 331. A total of 91 have so far expressed their intention to leave Libya.

"Canadian citizens in Libya requiring emergency consular assistance or seeking evacuation should contact the Canadian embassy in Tripoli at 218 (21) 335-1633 (dial 011 from Canada), or call Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s Emergency Operations Centre collect at 613-996-8885. They may also send an email to sos@international.gc.ca

"Friends and relatives in Canada seeking information on Canadian citizens believed to be in Libya should contact the Emergency Operations Centre by calling 1‑800‑387-3124. They may also send an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

"We strongly recommend that Canadian citizens currently in Libya register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to receive the latest advice from the Canadian embassy in Tripoli.

"Canadians are advised to avoid all gatherings and demonstrations and to stay away from places where they may occur as they may turn violent without warning. We deeply regret the loss of life during this crisis, and call on all parties to refrain from using violence."

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Lynn Meahan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
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