Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Hague re-opens UK's Libya embassy

British Foreign Secretary William Hague in Tripoli, Libya(AP)
British Foreign Secretary William Hague in Tripoli, Libya(AP)

Foreign Secretary William Hague declared a "watershed" moment had been reached in the UK's relations with Libya as he officially reopened Britain's embassy in Tripoli.

Confirming Sir John Jenkins as the new British ambassador, Mr Hague said the embassy had an "important role to play" in building relations with the newly-emerging democracy.

Mr Hague also met National Transitional Council chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil and announced plans to offer Libyans injured in the conflict treatment in the UK. Britain suspended its embassy operations in Tripoli in February and staff were evacuated on the last Government-chartered flight. The building was looted and torched in May by angry mobs amid Nato air strikes on the Libyan capital.

Mr Hague announced more details of the package of support the UK is providing to the interim government, including providing medical and security expertise.

He added: "The Libyan people's decisive break with the past means we are now able to open a new era in UK-Libya relations, building on our military, political, diplomatic and humanitarian support to the Libyan people during their revolution.

"First, the UK will make available places for Libyans injured in the conflict to receive treatment in the UK. "Up to 50 more patients who have suffered traumatic amputations will be offered rehabilitation and prosthetics care.

"Second, we are also increasing our contribution to security and stability in Libya. We are making available further support for emergency de-mining activities by the UN Mine Actions Service.

"This will help to protect thousands of people so that they can return to their homes including around Sirte and Bani Walid..And along with the US we are destroying hundreds of Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) to improve security throughout Libya.

"Third, at the NTC's request, UK experts on policing civil society and public financial management are now working in Libya.

"Fourth, the final requested shipment of Libyan banknotes frozen in the UK will be delivered to Libya, helping the economy to get back on track and provide for the Libyan people.

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