Monday, January 19, 2004

Libya/Egypt rift

A rift has opened between Eygpt and Libya, catalyzed by Libya's decision to come clean on its WMD and to allow UN inspectors inside the country. The latest development between the two sparring countries involves Libya closing its border, at least partially, to Egyptian nationals:

Problems at the Egyptian-Libyan border began on Friday when -- according to Egyptian border police -- about 300 Egyptians heading for Libya were turned back at the Salloum border crossing. Another 400 were reportedly sent back on Saturday. About 30 lorries were also denied entry. Libyan border authorities demanded that the Egyptians show them they had valid work contracts and at least $350 before letting them cross.

Egyptians had previously needed only their identity cards to cross the border. The more stringent regulations were an especially surprising development for the many Egyptians who live in Libya who were trying to head back after celebrating the New Year in Egypt.

Egyptian authorities have responded to Tripoli's move by refusing entry to more than 1000 Libyans since Friday. Exceptions were made for 113 Libyans with health problems who were allowed to enter Egypt on Sunday.


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