OTTAWA, Aug. 9 (UPI) — The Canadian government has ordered all Libyan diplomats out of the country within five days and frozen their bank accounts, the foreign affairs minister said.
Minister John Baird issued the order in Ottawa Monday night.
“Canada declares all remaining diplomats at the Libyan embassy in Ottawa ‘personae non grata,’ [unwanted] effective immediately,” the statement said. “These people now have five business days to vacate the embassy and leave the country.”
While the number of employees at the embassy was unknown, Baird said access to embassy bank accounts for all of them had been frozen as well, the Globe and Mail reported.
The move was meant to apply further international pressure to Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi to step down after 42 years and heed calls by rebels to allow for democratic reform. Gadhafi ordered his military to open fire on demonstrators and the rebellion became a military fight. In late March, the United Nations authorized NATO to attack Libyan military positions to prevent them from attacking civilians.
Meanwhile, there was no immediate indication if Canada was going to allow representatives of the rebels’ National Transitional Council to occupy the Ottawa embassy, the report said.