Talks between Libya, Egypt ongoing to free truck drivers: Egypt foreign ministry

Ahram Online, Friday 16 May 2014

Libyan militiamen detained around 250 Egyptian truck drivers on Thursday

Badr Abdel-Aty, foreign affairs ministry spokesman (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Extensive talks between Libya and Egypt have been ongoing in order to free a group of Egyptian truck drivers who were detained by militias in Ajdabiya on Thursday, Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman told Al-Ahram Arabic website.

Libyan militiamen detained around 250 Egyptian truck drivers in protest at the prosecution of their comrades in Egypt on charges including arms smuggling.

The Egyptian government is also communicating with Libyan tribal leaders in the Eastern area to free the drivers, Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdel-Aty stated.

Abdel-Aty also reiterated previous travel warnings to the North African nation, saying that travel to Libya should be via plane only.

Since the 2011 revolution that ousted autocrat Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan authorities have struggled to combat brigades of former armed rebel groups and Islamist militias who have easy access to weaponry.

In April, fifty Egyptian trucks -- with drivers and passengers -- were detained after trying to enter Ajdabiya. They were released a day later.

On Tuesday, gunmen killed an Egyptian worker in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi amid an upsurge in militant attacks since the toppling of Gaddafi.

Egyptian authorities have repeatedly voiced alarm over violence against its citizens in Libya.

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