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Hague: UK diplomatic team leaves Libya after problems
March 6, 2011 20:06
Following reports that rebels capture forces, British foreign secretary says team tasked with initiating rebel contact "experienced difficulties."
Libya: Rebel fighters wait for pro-Gaddafi forces

Libya rebels waiting for a fight 311 Reu. (photo credit:Asmaa Waguih / Reuters)

A small British diplomatic team sent to Benghazi in eastern Libya to initiate contacts with the rebel-backed opposition, and that "experienced difficulties" there, have now left the county, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday.

"We intend, in consultation with the opposition, to send a further team to strengthen our dialogue in due course. This diplomatic effort is part of the UK's wider work on Libya, including our ongoing humanitarian support," he said in a statement.

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"We continue to press for Gaddafi to step down and we will work with the international community to support the legitimate ambitions of the Libyan people," he added.

A rebel spokesman in Benghazi also said the team, which was reported to have included members British special forces, had left Libya.

The Sunday Times had earlier reported that Libyan rebels had captured a British special forces unit in the east after a secret diplomatic mission to make contact with opposition leaders backfired.

"They (the rebel army) did capture some British special forces. They could not ascertain if they were friends or foes. For our safety we are holding them and we expect this situation to be resolved soon," said the source in rebel-held Benghazi.

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