No regrets for PM on Libya policy

Published: Tuesday 17th February 2015 by The News Editor

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David Cameron has insisted he does not regret British efforts to rid Libya of Muammar Gaddafi despite growing unrest and the threat from terrorists.

The Prime Minister added the UK would not abandon Libya as he maintained his decision to send British military forces to the north African country in 2011 was the “right thing to do”.

Militants loyal to so-called Islamic State have heightened concerns they could establish a stronger presence in the area after they beheaded 21 hostages, who were all Coptic Christians from Egypt, on a Libyan beach.

It is feared the political uncertainty and violent power struggles in the north African country are the worst seen since Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011.

Speaking in Hove, Mr Cameron told reporters: “On the question of abandoning Libya, there’s no question of Britain abandoning Libya.

“Britain is giving Libya support through our aid budget. We did a major training project for the Libyan security forces. We are doing work to try and bring together a national unity government in Libya.

“But of course what we face in Libya is a very difficult situation with far too many armed militias, without a proper government and with the growth of ungoverned space, and we’ve had the appalling events of the last few days with the brutal, senseless murders of Coptic Christians on the beach, which I know has shocked the whole world.

“I discussed it yesterday with the president of Egypt and what the whole world needs to do is come together and work for a Libya that has a national unity government, obviously excluding terrorists, and that can start to build the institutions of a state.

“Do I regret that Britain played our role in getting rid of Gaddafi and coming to the aid of that nation when Gaddafi was going to murder his own citizens in Benghazi? No I don’t.

“It was the right thing for Britain to do. Gaddafi was no friend of our country – the Semtex given to the IRA has done a huge amount of damage in our country.

“Libya, Britain and the world are better off without Gaddafi but we have to do as much as we can now with, I hope, a willing Libyan population and politicians to try and bring that national unity government together – but it has been very hard work.”

Published: Tuesday 17th February 2015 by The News Editor

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