Update on Situation in Libya

(No. 79 - February 23, 2011 - 9:40 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement to Canadian citizens in Libya:

"The Canadian government is taking action to ensure that Canadian citizens in Libya can depart that country safely and as quickly as possible. The Government of Canada advises all Canadian citizens in Libya that an evacuation is currently being organized. A flight chartered by the Canadian government will leave Tripoli for Rome, which is its final destination, on Thursday, February 24, 2011.

"All Canadian citizens wishing to leave Libya on this flight should arrive at the airport in Tripoli by 10 a.m. on Thursday and wait in the left side of the parking lot located in front of the airport. They should look for a Canadian flag marking where Canadian consular officials will be on hand to help.

"Canadian citizens eligible to travel must ensure that they present the proper documentation. Immediate family members—spouse and children—who are not Canadian citizens must provide valid documentation for entry into Italy as well as proof of family relationship.

"Passengers will be required to sign an undertaking with the Government of Canada agreeing to repay the costs related to evacuation, set at $500 per seat. It should be noted that only one piece of luggage will be allowed per passenger.

"Canada is also working very closely with other countries, including France, the United States and the United Kingdom, to secure evacuation 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 [ROCA] service to inquire about their travel intentions. We strongly recommend that Canadian citizens currently in Libya register with ROCA to receive the latest advice from the Canadian embassy in Tripoli.

"The number of Canadians registered with us who have expressed their intention to leave Libya currently stands at 213.

"Canadian citizens in Libya requiring emergency consular assistance or wanting to leave Libya 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 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.

"Canadians in Libya are advised to avoid all gatherings and demonstrations and to stay away from places where they may occur.

"The Government of Canada vigorously condemns the use of force against innocent protesters. The outrageous abuse of power by government forces must stop."

- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Lynn Meahan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Follow us on Twitter.