Statement by Minister Cannon on Current Situation in Libya

(No. 85 - February 26, 2011 - 9:10 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement regarding the situation in Libya and the evacuation of Canadians from that country:

"The Government of Canada has suspended its diplomatic presence in Libya. All Canada-based staff, including the Canadian ambassador to Libya, departed the country on the C-17 flight that arrived in Malta this morning. The C-17 evacuated 46 people, consisting of 24 Canadians and 22 people of other nationalities.

"The evacuation operation is still ongoing. The C-17 aircraft will remain in Malta on standby until further notice to respond to the need to evacuate more Canadians and other nationals, if and when required.

"To date, we have facilitated the evacuation of 238 Canadians. The Emergency Operations Centre of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) has received over 1,700 phone calls and has made more than 4,000 outgoing phone calls and emails.

"We urge Canadians in Libya to consult DFAIT’s consular advice at travel.gc.ca regarding opportunities to leave the country from various points by sea or by air. This advice is continually updated.

"The Government of Canada, in close cooperation with other countries, continues to investigate departure options for Canadians in Libya and is providing information as it becomes available.

"The Emergency Operations Centre will make all efforts to contact Canadian citizens remaining in Libya who are registered with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service so as to determine their travel intentions.

"Any friends and relatives in Canada seeking information on Canadian citizens believed to be in Libya should contact DFAIT’s Emergency Operations Centre by calling 1-800-387-3124 or by sending an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

"Canadian citizens in Libya requiring consular assistance should contact the Emergency Operations Centre in Ottawa at 00-1-613-996-8885 or send an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

"Due to the instability in the Middle East and North Africa region, we recommend that Canadians carefully read the country travel advisories available at travel.gc.ca and exercise increased caution when travelling in the region.

"The Government of Canada continues to condemn the use of force against the Libyan people. The outrageous abuse of power by government forces must stop."

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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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