Kufra — On Wednesday, the Beida-based interim government in eastern Libya closed-down the Sudanese consulate in Kufra, in south-eastern Libya, declared the diplomats persona non grata, and ordered them to leave the country within 72 hours.
Local news sources report that the Foreign Ministry summoned the Sudanese consul Salah Ahmed Eid, and informed him of its decision to expel the 11 staffers of the consulate.
The Beida government says that Sudanese diplomats in Kufra have been working in a way "contrary to the status established by international conventions for the staff of diplomatic missions and consulates, which is in violation of Libyan national security".
In a statement on Wednesday evening, the Foreign Ministry of Sudan expressed its 'regrets' at the decision to close the Sudanese consulate in Kufra "on the basis of unfounded accusations that some of the consulate staff have exceeded their normal duties." said the Sudanese foreign ministry in a statement issued on Wednesday evening.
The Foreign Ministry spokesperson pointed out that "since its establishment in 2003, the Consulate has continued its functions in accordance with the Vienna Agreement on Consular Relations and in conformity with international rules and traditions in diplomatic and consular work.
"Despite the security conditions in the region, the consulate has contributed and still continues to strengthen social communication and trade across the border of the two countries, a matter mentioned by the leaders and dignitaries of the Kufra on several occasions," the statement says.
Tens of thousands of Sudanese left their home country to find a livelihood in Libya. Sudanese also travel to Libya to attempt to cross the Mediterranean in their quest for a better life. In March this year, more than 45 Darfuris died when the boat carrying them from Libya to Europe sank.
'Triangle of terrorism'
Following the accusations by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt that Qatar has been supporting terrorism and Islamist militants, tensions have again grown, with Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesman Ahmed Mismari claiming that Sudan is part of a "triangle of terrorism" which includes Turkey and Qatar.
The Sudanese government has hit back with counter claims that the (LNA) has supported the Darfur armed movements.