Libyan flag lowered in Azerbaijan

BAKU – Libya’s flag was lowered at its embassy in Azerbaijan on Monday afternoon, eyewitnesses say.

Staff of the diplomatic mission was not immediately available for comment, but police officers guarding the embassy said the move could be linked to the recent developments in Libya.

After six months of conflict, rebels fighting to end Muammar Gaddafi’s rule control most of Tripoli after advancing quickly into the Libyan capital. The rebels reached central Green Square after facing little opposition as they moved into the city from the west.

Opposition fighters are reported to be in control of most of the Libyan capital, though they say there are still pockets of resistance from Gaddafi loyalists.

Gaddafi spokesman Moussa Ibrahim claimed there were still 65,000 troops in the city fighting for Gaddafi. Gaddafi has called on tribal supporters to join the battle and stop the rebel advance.

"The Azerbaijani embassy will try to establish relations with the new government in Libya," Ambassador Aghasalim Shukurov told Radio Liberty.

As for the safety of the Azerbaijani embassy’s employees, Shukurov said he and all other staff of the diplomatic mission have been on leave in Azerbaijan since early August.

He went on to say that Baku had held talks for six to seven months on establishing cooperation between Azerbaijani and Libyan companies, but the discussions were then discontinued "after the known developments".

"But from now on we will be trying to restore ties," the ambassador added.