Bulgarian Tripoli-bound Rescue Plane Delayed in Sofia

Politics » DIPLOMACY | February 22, 2011, Tuesday // 13:35| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgarian Tripoli-bound Rescue Plane Delayed in Sofia: Bulgarian Tripoli-bound Rescue Plane Delayed in Sofia The plane, secured by the State-owned company Technoexportstroy, to evacuate Bulgarians from Tripoli is still at the Sofia airport. File photo

The aircraft which was supposed to evacuate Bulgarians from the Libyan capital Tripoli has not yet departed from Sofia, the Foreign Ministry informs mid-day Tuesday.

The initial plan was for the plane, secured by the State-owned company Technoexportstroy, with 180 seats to land in Tripoli at noon. The Ministry does not state a reason for the delay.

It was announced earlier Tuesday that Bulgaria has received a landing permission, but it remains unclear if Libyan air space is open for flights amidst international media reports the Gaddafi regime is not allowing any planes to enter it.

According to official data, about 500 Bulgarians are in Libya, but the number could be much higher - 1 500 and up. Half of them are in and near Tripoli, the others are dispersed in cities and towns in the eastern part of the country. Many reside in Libya, others work for private, including foreign, businesses.

There is no information about Bulgarians being harmed in the riots.

The Foreign Ministry advises Bulgarians in Benghazi and eastern Libya to stay home and refrain from traveling over the unstable situation.

The Benghazi airport is closed and all runways have been destroyed, according to the Libyan Foreign Ministry. Benghazi, the country's second largest city, 1 000 km east from the capital, is controlled by the demonstrators.

Many other countries have there aircraft on standby, ready for evacuations.

Turkey has launched the largest rescue operation in its history to bring home about 25 000 Turkish citizens. 4 airplanes are awaiting landing permission in Tripoli while two ferryboats have been send to Benghazi to take people by sea to Egypt and then board planes for Turkey.

Italy is sending a military aircraft to Benghazi while Greece is also awaiting landing permission to evacuate its 300 citizens, currently in Libya.

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Tags: Libya, protests, Bulgarians, Foreign Ministry, plane, Tripoli, Technoexportstroy, Prime Minister, Benghazi, evacuation, demonstrators, Gaddafi, turkey, Italy, greece
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