London, March 8 (DPA) Britain will send further diplomatic teams to Libya for talks with rebel leaders despite a botched mission over the weekend, the government said Monday.
Foreign Secretary William Hague told parliament that he had personally authorized the deployment of a diplomatic team, which travelled by helicopter to the eastern city of Benghazi over the weekend, accompanied by protection officers.
However, the eight-member team, which included special forces troops, was briefly captured by rebels and released only after an embarrassing top-level diplomatic intervention.
“They were withdrawn yesterday after a serious misunderstanding about their role, leading to their temporary detention,” Hague said Monday.
It was important to retain the contact with Libyan opposition groups, Hague said, and that “further diplomats would be sent to eastern Libya in due course”.
“This engagement is vitally important to gain a better understanding of the political, military and humanitarian situation on the ground,” said Hague.