Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Hague: Gaddafi's violence continues

William Hague said Britain will continue to take robust action against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya
William Hague said Britain will continue to take robust action against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya
Libyan women demonstrate during a rally in support of the allied air campaigns against Gaddafi's troops (AP)
Libyans join a rally in support of the allied air campaigns against the troops of Gaddafi in Benghazi (AP)
French Mirage 2000 jet fighters are prepared for a mission to Libya (AP)
William Hague said he wanted Nato to take over the command of operations 'as quickly as possible'
French military ground crews prepare a Mirage 2000 jet fighter for a mission to Libya, at Solenzara 126 Air Base, Corsica, France Wednesday, March 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
French military ground crews prepare a Mirage 2000 jet fighter for a mission to Libya, at Solenzara 126 Air Base, Corsica, Wednesday, March 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
A member of the French military ground crew helps to prepare a Mirage 2000 jet fighter being made ready for a mission to Libya, at Solenzara 126 Air Base, Corsica island, France, Wednesday, March 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
French military ground crews prepare a Mirage 2000 jet fighter for a mission to Libya, at Solenzara 126 Air Base, Corsica island, Mediterranean Sea, Wednesday, March 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
In this image taken during an organized trip by the Libyan authorities, a Libyan supporter of Moammar Gadhafi wearing a uniform displays his new automatic weapon during a staged spontaneous demonstration in Ban-Waled, home of the Warfallah tribe, 160kms (100 miles) south east of Tripoli, Libya, Wednesday March 23, 2011. International airstrikes forced Moammar Gadhafi's tanks to roll back from the western city of Misrata on Wednesday, giving respite to civilians who have endured more than a week of attacks and a punishing blockade.(AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
In this image taken during an organized trip by the Libyan authorities, Libyan supporters of Moammar Gadhafi, some of whom came from Tripoli, take part in a staged demonstration in Ban-Waled, home of the Warfallah tribe, 160kms (100 miles) south east of Tripoli, Libya, Wednesday March 23, 2011. International air strikes forced Moammar Gadhafi's tanks to roll back from the western city of Misrata on Wednesday, giving respite to civilians who have endured more than a week of attacks and a punishing blockade.(AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Libyan rebels run to take cover as mortars from Moammar Gadhafi's forces are fired on them on the frontline near Zwitina, the outskirts of the city of Ajdabiya, south of Benghazi, eastern Libya, Wednesday, March 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
A gun was handed over to a Libyan boy during a rally in support of the allied air campaigns against the troops of Moammar Gadhafi in Benghazi, eastern Libya, Wednesday, March 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
A Libyan woman reacts with her hands written on them in Arabic " I love Libya' as she joins a rally in support of the allied air campaigns against the forces of Moammar Gadhafi in Benghazi, eastern Libya, Wednesday, March 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
In this image taken during an organized trip by the Libyan authorities, a Libyan supporter of Moammar Gadhafi loads his weapon on the outskirt of a staged spontaneous demonstration in Ban-Waled, home of the Warfallah tribe, 160kms (100 miles) south east of Tripoli, Libya, Wednesday March 23, 2011. International airstrikes forced Moammar Gadhafi's tanks to roll back from the western city of Misrata on Wednesday, giving respite to civilians who have endured more than a week of attacks and a punishing blockade.(AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
Air Vice Marshall Greg Bagwell speaking to the media at the Italian Airforce base of Gioia del Colle near Bari in southern Italy from where the RAF are patrolling the no-fly-zone over Libya. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 23, 2011. See PA story POLITICS Libya. Photo credit should read: Chris Ison/PA Wire
An RAF Tornado jet takes off from the Italian Airforce base of Gioia del Colle near Bari in southern Italy from where the RAF are stationed to patrol the no-fly-zone over Libya. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 23, 2011. See PA story POLITICS Libya. Photo credit should read: Chris Ison/PA Wire
The USS Bataan leaves the pier at Naval Station Norfolk on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in Norfolk, Va. The USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group is deploying to the Mediterranean Sea to aid international efforts in Libya. The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group is made up of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan, amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde and the dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island. The ships will transport Marines, a combat helicopter squadron and a team of surgeons. The group will be relieving units from the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group. (AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Steve Earley) MAGS OUT

Britain will maintain "robust action" against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's regime as "appalling violence" continues against Libyan civilians, William Hague has insisted.

The Foreign Secretary said the case for continuing military strikes remains "utterly compelling", and he dismissed the regime's claims it had ordered a ceasefire as an "utter sham".

Mr Hague told MPs air strikes are relieving pressure on civilians in Misrata although the hospital is "swamped" with casualties. Ajdabiya continues to be under attack, with reports that civilians are being killed by tank shelling.

"This underlines the appalling danger its inhabitants would be in without coalition action, as do continued threats by Gaddafi forces to 'massacre' residents in areas under bombardment," he said.

"Our action is saving lives and is protecting hundreds of thousands of civilians in Benghazi and Misrata from the fate that otherwise awaited them. That is what UN Security Council Resolution 1973 was for and that is why we are implementing it."

He said UK forces had so far taken part in 59 aerial missions as well as the air and missile strikes.

Britain was involved in a co-ordinated action against Libyan air defence systems on Wednesday night, with Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles launched from a Trafalgar Class submarine .

Updating MPs in a Commons statement, Mr Hague said: "The case for this action remains utterly compelling. Appalling violence against Libyan citizens continues to take place, exposing the regime's claims to have ordered a ceasefire to be an utter sham."

The Foreign Secretary also told MPs he wants to see operations move from the command of the United States to Nato "as quickly as possible".

"We need agreement to unified command and control for it to be robust, and we expect to get that soon," he said.

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