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Canadian evacuation flight cancelled due to 'deteriorating security situation'

OTTAWA – A Canadian evacuation flight destined for the Libyan capital is staying in Rome, cancelled due to what one government official described as the “deteriorating security situation” in Tripoli.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Foreign Affairs officials told The Canadian Press that the air charter company’s insurance would not cover the flight into the volatile area.

She said authorities were assessing the situation in Libya, where more than 200 protesters have been killed during pro-democracy demonstrations bent on forcing President Moammar Gadhafi to step down.

Government officials were exploring their options, possibly including military flights and/or evacuations by sea.

Foreign Affairs has said 344 Canadians are registered with the embassy in Tripoli and at least 213 have said they want out.

Some Canadians looking for a quicker escape from the violence boarded an American vessel in Tripoli harbour on Wednesday with U.S. citizens, Britons and other foreigners, but bad weather delayed the ship from leaving for Malta.

A spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said the 26 Canadians were safe on the U.S. vessel.

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