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Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis Egyptians, who used to work in Libya, wait for buses to take them further inland today after fleeing Libya.
# Libya
UN and NATO hold emergency meetings on Libya
Rush to evacuate ex-pats from Libya as international leaders meet to consider their response to the increasing unrest.

BOTH THE UN SECURITY Council and NATO are to hold meetings today to discuss the continuing violence and protests in Libya, as governments continue to organise the evacuation of their citizens.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed to that two Irish citizens left Benghazi on board a boat last night, but an Air Corps plane is still on standby in Malta for permission to evacuate about 40 Irish people from Tripoli.

CNN reports that hundreds of British citizens have left the troubled North African country by ship, and hundreds of Americans are expected to follow suit later today.

China has evacuated about one-third of its 33,000 citizens from Libya and intends to continue helping Chinese people flee the country, according to Xinhua.

Coordinated international response

Yesterday, US President Barack Obama called for the international community to coordinate a response to the crisis in Libya. The White House said Obama has phoned Nicolas Sarkozy, David Cameron and Silvio Berlusconi to “coordinate our urgent efforts to respond to developments and ensure that there is appropriate accountability”.

Human Rights Watch has called on Bersluconi to use his special relationship with Gaddafi “to help protect protesters from unlawful attack” by the Libyan forces. The organisation says Berlusconi has said he held off on calling Gaddafi about reports of violence because he did not want to disturb him.

Reuters reports that Facebook pages calling for a mass protest in Tripoli after Friday prayers this evening have gathered tens of thousands of fans. The government was reported by state television to be raising wages, increasing food subsidies and providing special allowances for families in an effort to quell the unrest.

Meanwhile, oil prices continue to rise amid unrest in the region as fears grow over disruptions to supplies. A number of international oil companies have already suspended their Libyan operations and evacuated ex-pat staff from the country.

Libyan authorities have lost control of parts of the east, including Benghazi, and are reported to have lost two cities in the west to anti-Gaddafi forces. Today, the BBC reports that Bengazhi is so firmly under opposition control, that things are returning to normal in the city.

Read: Ten things you should know about Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi >