Salmond concern over Cobra meeting on Libya

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has raised concern his government was not allowed to take part in UK discussions on the Libya crisis.

He expressed "regret" to the Scottish Parliament that he had not contributed to a meeting of the UK government emergency response committee, Cobra.

But Mr Salmond later spoke with Foreign Secretary William Hague.

He has has offered help to the UK government's operation to get Britons stranded in Libya back home.

It is not currently clear how many Scots oil or other workers are affected.

Mr Hague is also "reflecting" on the Cobra decision, a spokesman for the first minister said.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he was "extremely sorry" for the government's handling of the evacuation of British nationals from Libya.

Thousands of foreigners are trying to flee Libya amid an uprising against the country's embattled leader, Col Muammar Gaddafi.

A plane chartered by oil companies for employees, with 79 passengers, has arrived at Gatwick and a government-chartered flight has also left Libya.

'Duty of care'

During question time at Holyrood, Liberal Democrat MSP Jamie Stone raised the plight of one of his constituents, William Skinner, an oil worker from Inver, Easter Ross.

Mr Stone called on the first minister to help, adding: "He is alone, without communication trapped in a flat in Tripoli."

Mr Salmond responded: "Unfortunately, the United Kingdom government decided the Scottish government wouldn't be allowed to participate in a Cobra meeting this morning.

"I regret that decision because we have a substantial interest and duty of care to Scottish oil workers in Libya at the present moment.

"As we've always done on Cobra meetings on whatever subject, we would have respected all confidences and gone into that meeting in as constructive as way as possible."

But the first minister added: "The foreign secretary has agreed to speak to me this afternoon and I'll relay the views of Jamie Stone and his concern for his constituent to the foreign secretary, as well as urging further effective action to secure the safety of Scottish citizens."

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