Visitors to Libya Must Provide Arabic Translation of Their Passports when Entering Country
Libya authorities confirmed that Libya will turn away visitors from all over the world unless they provide Arabic translations of their passports.
They also said that regulations that require Arabic translation for all visitors to Libya is here to remain in effect and would be strictly applied in all points of entry to the country including road, air and sea.
The regulations have been in effect for over two decades and usually applied but with some lax sometimes.
Although the Western media has made the issue as if it was directed against Western visitors, the regulations have been applied to all visitors to Libya from all over the world.
Speaking after a meeting between Libyan officials and Western ambassadors in Tripoli, a Libyan diplomat was quoted by AFP on Monday as saying "the Libyan authorities said they had informed airlines in time about the rule change but that they had not in turn informed their passengers."
"Libya will not reverse its decision, nor will it take into consideration the international reaction" and uproar triggered by the new restrictions, a Libyan official told AFP.
"The West demands that we translate our passports into English and therefore we must act in kind. It is only normal," said the official.
"Travellers arriving with foreign language passports are perturbing officials at border posts and airports because these officials don't know foreign languages," he added.
On Sunday Libya turned back scores of passengers on a flight from Paris because they failed to provide Arabic translations of their passports.
Libya adopted Arabic as the country's sole language since the revolution in 1969, a policy that remained the consistent ever since.
"We must defend our Arabic language. There will be no compromise," he said.
According to the AFP as it quoted a Libyan aviation official, the measure could be in response to a decision to prevent Libyans with visas for the EU's Schengen border-free zone from entering certain European countries, notably France and Britain.