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Canada expels 5 Libyan diplomats

By Paula Newton, CNN
  • Envoys' behavior was "inappropriate," foreign affairs department says
  • Canada does not sever diplomatic relations with Libya

Ottawa, Canada (CNN) -- Five Libyan diplomats have been expelled from Canada after the department of foreign affairs determined that their behavior was "inappropriate."

"The Government of Canada has taken steps to expel (declare persona non grata) five diplomats working at the Libyan Embassy in Ottawa. The activities carried out in Canada by the five Libyan diplomats are considered inappropriate and inconsistent with normal diplomatic functions." said a statement released by the department of foreign affairs on Tuesday evening.

Canada has not severed diplomatic relations with Libya, and the Libyan Embassy in Ottawa remains open, the statement said.

The five diplomats were told that they and their families were to make immediate arrangements to leave the country within a matter of days.

Media reports in recent weeks suggested that Libyan citizens protesting against the Gadhafi regime in Canada were the victims of threats and intimidation by other Libyan nationals.

But the foreign affairs department refused further comment this evening and Canada does not have a foreign affairs minister at the moment. Former Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon was defeated after a May 2 federal election that returned Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper to power.

Canada is part of the NATO mission in Libya, which continues to enforce United Nations Resolution 1973.