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Some U.S. diplomats leave Mideast, embassies on high alert

English.news.cn   2012-09-17 12:36:42            

TUNIS/KHARTOUM, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Some U.S. diplomats were leaving the Middle East, while U.S. embassies in the region remained on alert amid continued anti-U.S. protests triggered by a U.S.-made film that "insults Prophet Mohamed."

Tunisian radio reported Sunday that 128 diplomats and members of the U.S. embassy in Tunis had left for Washington, one day after the U.S. State Department ordered non-essential diplomatic staff and their families to leave Tunisia and Sudan.

U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia Jacob Walles complained that security measures for his embassy were "not adequate" during Friday's anti-U.S. protests.

Four people died and 48 were injured when angry protestors penetrated into the embassy compound on Friday.

Walles said also said the damage to the embassy was "enormous" and those who committed the acts "did not represent Tunisians." "They are a minority who want to destroy Tunisian-American relations, not only the embassy compound."

In spite of the damage to the buildings, the embassy will reopen on Monday, the ambassador said. A nearby American school was also torched and looted during Friday's violence.

Mohamed El Bakhti, a Salafist leader who was among the protesters at the U.S. embassy, was arrested Saturday night by Tunisian anti-terrorist squad, the news website Kapitalis reported on Sunday.

The Tunisian government said a number of Jihadi Salafists were also apprehended since the attack on the U.S. embassy on Friday.

In Khartoum, where thousands of protestors on Friday attacked German and British embassies and then attempted to storm the U.S. embassy, the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) Sunday downplayed the U.S. threats to relocate U.S. diplomatic mission to another African capital after Sudan rejected the entry of U.S. army.

The United States had said it wanted to send U.S. marine infantry troops into Sudanese territories to enhance protection around the U.S. embassy in Khartoum, but was rejected by Sudanese government.

"The Sudanese government, with its regular forces, was in better control in terms of minimizing and lessening damages, compared to what had resulted from the violence due to the protests witnessed by Islamic countries against a movie that insults Prophet Mohamed," Rabie Abdul-Atti, a leading NCP member, told reporters.

He said the Sudanese government and the NCP firmly reject violence and assault on embassies, "but insulting Prophet Mohamed is similarly rejected."

On the same day, Sudan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the Sudanese authorities have enhanced their security procedures on protection of the diplomatic missions in the country after recent demonstrations.

"The Sudanese government reiterates its commitment to security of the diplomatic missions within its territories where the number of the forces entrusted with the protection of the missions have actually been increased," said Al-Obaid Ahmed Mirawih, a spokesman for the ministry.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden had reportedly called his Sudanese counterpart Ali Osman Mohamed Taha on Friday and urged him to ensure protection of the diplomats in Khartoum.

As anti-U.S. protests spilled over to other parts of the world, the Philippine government Sunday enhanced security of U.S. embassy officials and personnel in Manila.

Presidential Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte said "the government can guarantee the safety of the U.S. Embassy," mentioning increased police presence outside the U.S. embassy.

The French government announced Sunday it intends to stand firm against illegal demonstration following Saturday's anti-U.S. protest outside the U.S. embassy in Paris.

A total of 152 people were detained and one has been placed in custody on suspicion of doing violence against police officers, in which four were slightly wounded, French authorities said.


Commentary: Time for U.S. to rethink its Mideast policies after ambassador's tragic death

BEIJING, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- The attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya on Tuesday were hair-raising, and the death of U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was tragic.

On the surface, the attacks stemmed from a U.S.-made film that "defames Islam's Prophet Mohammed." But their causes run deeper than that, highlighting America's flawed strategy in the Middle East and the necessity for Washington to rethink its policies toward the region.  Full story

Editor: Liu
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