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Tony Blair to give evidence to inquiry into Libya policy

Published 30/11/2015

Tony Blair and Colonel Gaddafi shaking hands at Gaddafi's desert base near Sirte in 2007
Tony Blair and Colonel Gaddafi shaking hands at Gaddafi's desert base near Sirte in 2007

Former prime minister Tony Blair is to give evidence to a parliamentary inquiry looking into the UK's foreign policy towards Libya.

Mr Blair will appear before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee to answer questions on December 11.

In a statement, the committee said that the session will focus on UK foreign policy towards Libya during Mr Blair's period as PM, as part of its inquiry into the UK's intervention in the 2011 crisis and future policy options.

Mr Blair famously met former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in his desert tent in 2004, after the north African country renounced weapons of mass destruction. He visited him again in 2007.

The meeting marked a key stage in the process of reintegrating Libya into the international community, after years of sanctions over Gaddafi's support for terrorism.

Emails from the account of former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, released earlier this year under American freedom of information laws, suggested that Mr Blair privately urged Gaddafi to stand aside as rebellion erupted against his regime in 2011.

The former prime minister advised Gaddafi to find "a safe place to go" as part of a "managed" process of political change before the situation reached "the point of no return", according to the emails.

And a biography of David Cameron - Cameron At 10, by Sir Anthony Seldon - claimed that Mr Blair telephoned Downing Street at the time to say that he had been contacted by "a key individual close to Gaddafi" and that the Libyan dictator wanted to "cut a deal" with Britain.

The rebels finally overran the capital, Tripoli, in August 2011. Gaddafi was captured and killed two months later.

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