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Libya power struggle blacks out embassy

THE Libyan embassy in Canberra has survived death threats and the loss of its government, but it might be the electricity bill that finally breaks it.

The embassy can only operate for another two months before the money runs out to pay the bills, according to one of its senior staff.

Cultural attache Omnar Zwed said the embassy could run until the end of October and after that it would have to wait for an end to the Libyan civil war.

The embassy's base is a large brick building in O'Malley and the cultural attache also uses another large home a few streets away in the same suburb.

The small embassy staff helps 1600 Libyans across Australia, including ''a small number'' of people who disagree with the embassy's anti-Gaddafi stance.

Mr Zwed said the embassy had tightened its budget.


''You could not imagine how we have lived in the last six months,'' he said.

The official revealed threatening emails had been sent to the embassy by pro-Gaddafi supporters after the staff publicly backed the revolution and withdrew their support for the embattled dictator.

According to Mr Zwed, the anonymous emails warned staff, ''you'll pay the price''.

''We know how Gaddafi [and his regime] define paying the price,'' Mr Zwed said. ''We passed this onto the police.''

He said the perpetrators had not been found.

Despite the lack of leadership in Libya - and tensions between civil leadership, the rebels and Gaddafi supporters - a DFAT spokeswoman said the Australian Government continued to recognise the Libyan ambassador's role and status.