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Foreign Secretary, Defence Secretary and Development Secretary statements on Libya

Foreign Secretary William Hague, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell have made statements on the Libyan Declaration of National Liberation.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

“The fall of Sirte, the death of Qadhafi and the declaration of National Liberation represent a historic victory for the people of Libya and a decisive moment in their struggle for freedom.

“We welcome the NTC’s confirmation that they will form an inclusive Transitional Government and work towards democratic elections. The Libyan people now have the chance to work together in a new political process, leading to a pluralistic and open society under the rule of law. That opportunity is within their grasp and we urge them to seize it, avoiding retribution and reprisals and ensuring that national reconciliation and reconstruction go hand in hand. The work to ensure long term peace and prosperity in Libya is just beginning. We are proud of everything we have done to assist so far, and stand ready to help the Libyan people in the future.

“NATO will continue to enforce UNSCR 1973 for as long as is necessary to protect civilians against the threat of violence from remaining pro-Qadhafi forces.”

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

“The Libyan people have liberated their country from a ruthless tyrant. This has been their revolution and they can be rightly proud of their achievements.

“When the UK and its allies commenced military operations on 19 March, Colonel Qadhafi’s forces were hours away from massacring the people of Benghazi, and Misratah was besieged with snipers and under heavy artillery attack. The world has witnessed the devastating consequences of Qadhafi’s aggression against his own people. NATO’s action protected civilians from the barbarity of the Qadhafi regime, and has allowed the Libyan people to choose their own destiny. Committing military forces to Libya averted an imminent humanitarian catastrophe in Benghazi and has saved countless lives since.

“As NATO Ministers agreed recently, Operation Unified Protector will continue for as long as necessary, but not a moment longer - until the people of Libya are no longer threatened by Qadhafi or members of his former regime and the Libyans no longer want NATO’s support.

“The UK’s Armed Forces, the RAF, Royal Navy and Army, have and continue to contribute hugely to the NATO effort to protect Libyan civilians under UNSCR 1973 and it is right that we take this opportunity to pay tribute to their professionalism and bravery.”

Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:

“The UK was one of the first to provide vital humanitarian support to those affected by the conflict in Libya. Our early action in providing emergency shelter supplies and flying people home from the border camps helped prevent a logistical problem from developing into a humanitarian crisis.

“In Misrata, the UK provided essential support including the emergency evacuation of nearly 5,000 vulnerable migrant workers and injured civilians. Our support has also contributed to providing surgical teams and medicines for war-wounded patients and emergency shelter for people driven out of their homes by ongoing fighting, as well as enabling work to protect up to one million people from unexploded devices. We remain ready to provide further support as needed.

“Now that liberation has been declared, we will continue to work with the NTC as they lead the process of post-conflict transition, supported by the UN. It is essential that we support Libyan owned and led solutions - this is a Libyan victory.

“In May, we sent an International Stabilisation Response team (ISRT) to Libya to identify the immediate challenges facing the Libyan people and suggest how the international community could respond in a clear, coordinated and effective way. Since then, the NTC have set out their own stabilisation plan and at their request we have deployed experts to support their plans on policing and finance and support on deminining. We stand ready to continue to provide assistance to support a Libyan led transition as required. Today’s events are an important step forward in this process.”

Published 24 October 2011