The government has cut diplomatic relations with the Libyan government over the violent massacre of protesters in the North African country, Mmegi is informed.
In an interview with Mmegi yesterday Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Tshenolo Modise said government took the decision to terminate diplomatic relations out of the realisation "that the leader of Libya (Muammar Gaddafi) was not remorseful and made defiant pronouncements despite the violence visited on people," she said.
She said that in the past 24 hours the situation in Libya worsened, especially with the defiant statements by Gaddafi. The statements have appalled Botswana, a peace-loving country, added Modise, especially that they project total disregard for human life.
When quizzed about any Batswana who might be stuck in Libya, Modise told Mmegi that they have received unconfirmed reports that four Batswana are in the country. Modise has also said Botswana and Libya have a bilateral economic and tactical agreement signed in 1977 and diplomatic relations that stretch into decades. She has however said Botswana does not have an embassy in the country, and that the Addis Ababa embassy office in Ethiopia is servicing it. A statement from the ministry said the measure (of terminating relations) is not aimed at the "friendly people of Libya. It's prompted by actions of their government. The government and people of Botswana share common ties of friendship, understanding and a common vision with the people of Libya as Africans and members of the international community. This will continue and endure," it read in part. The communiqu further points out that Botswana agrees with the international community which is calling for action against those persons who have committed crimes against humanity in the continuing conflict in Libya and "hopes that such persons shall be referred to the International Criminal Court to account for their deeds, " reads the statement.
Efforts to seek comment from the Libyan embassy in Botswana drew a blank as the Libyan representative was said to be unavailable at press time.