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Taiwan's lone holdout in Libya

2011/03/22 13:00:55

Taipei, March 22 (CNA) The only Taiwanese businessman left inLibya, where Western coalition forces started launching air strikesover the weekend, insisted on staying in the North African country toprotect his business and employees, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs(MOFA) said Tuesday.

MOFA spokesman James Chang said his ministry has been in close,daily contact with the lone Taiwanese holdout and has urged him toleave the country since late February, when the situation in theNorth African nation began deteriorating.

"He was reluctant to leave the country where he has operated hisfactory for more than three decades and insisted on staying toprotect his more than 300 employees, " Chang said.

The businessman also said the situation on the outskirts ofLibya's capital, Tripoli, where his factory is located, appearssecure.

However, Chang went on, MOFA is ready to provide assistance if hedecides to return to Taiwan.

Taiwan also urged Libya to respect the United Nations SecurityCouncil resolution, which mandates Gadhafi stop military actionagainst his own people, or face a U.N. sanctioned no-fly zone, whichauthorizes "all necessary measures" to protect civilian areas andprevent Gadhafi from using Libyan airspace, said Chang.

President Ma Ying-jeou has also expressed concern over the safetyof overseas Taiwanese in North Africa and the Middle East in ameeting with the National Security Council on Monday.

All Taiwan nationals, including diplomats, have been evacuatedfrom Libya, where a rebellion has broken out against the country'sdictator since mid-February.

(By Chris Wang)