News story

Foreign Secretary on latest situation in Libya

Foreign Secretary William Hague told Sky News it is important that reports of atrocities being uncovered in Libya are investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.

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

The Foreign Secretary said:

“It’s very important that they are investigated. I think the sort of shocking scenes that we’ve seen reported on Sky News underline the inhumane and criminal nature of the Qadhafi regime. That is the culture that has been reflected in the actions of their fleeing troops, in the way they have treated prisoners, the way they have massacred their prisoners.

So I think it’s very, very important that these things are investigated, that the perpetrators are brought to justice and I’m sure that the National Transitional Council will be very, very determined that that is going to happen.”

The Foreign Secretary said he had no definite confirmation that atrocities had been carried out by forces opposed to Qadhafi.

“The leadership of the National Transitional Council has been very clear all along that there should be no reprisals, that higher standards have to be observed than the standards of the regime. I think in the main that has been observed, but obviously we can’t know what has happened in every situation in, in every part of Libya.”

Referring to reports that Qadhafi is still in Libya and wants to discuss a transition of power, the Foreign Secretary said:

“We don’t know where he is and the National Transitional Council themselves have said that they don’t know where he is. We have this statement issued this morning by his spokesman, saying that he wants to discuss a transition of power. This is another of these rather delusional statements - a transition is taking place. The NTC have been accepted by the Arab League as the Government of Libya and of course as we’ve seen in your reports they are in increasingly firm control of Tripoli and handling the situation there, so that transition is taking place. What should now happen on the part of Gaddafi is that he should tell his remaining forces to lay down their arms, to cease this violence so that other people can, can take forward Libya in to a peaceful future.

I don’t think there is any possibility of any agreement that he would be involved in a transition. That has never been something that would be acceptable to the National Transitional Council or really to the international community. That’s been the position all along and all the more so therefore after the last week in which the Qadhafi regime has collapsed. That regime is finished. So there’s never been any question of him being part of a transition. He has resisted earlier attempts to negotiate by the National Transitional Council, which would have seen him leaving power and then other people taking forward a transition. So that just is not on the cards. We are way past that point.”

The Foreign Secretary said that the process of stabilisation and reconstruction had to be a Libyan led process.

“Libyans must own their own future and make their own decisions. We will support them and we’ve already laid a lot of plans to support them in doing so. It was our Stabilisation Team in Benghazi which reported and, including giving their report to the Libyans, to the NTC, about what would need to be done in a post Qadhafi Libya. Many of those plans are now being put in place.

We’re helping with humanitarian supplies given the difficulty of the situation in Tripoli and we’re very energetically helping diplomatically. We are now seeking agreement at the UN tomorrow to unfreeze the Libyan bank notes which we hold in this country to put some cash back in to the Libyan economy.

The Prime Minister will chair the conference in Paris on Thursday with President Sarkozy looking to, to bringing the whole international community together to support a free and democratic Libya in the future.

So we will continue to play a very strong supporting role for a free and democratic Libya but it’s up to Libyans to lead that process and we’ve been clear about that all along.”

Published 28 August 2011