News story

Foreign Secretary visits Benghazi

"We are here today for one principal reason - to show our support for the Libyan people and for the National Transitional Council"

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

Foreign Secretary William Hague and Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell are visiting Benghazi in Libya on 4 June. During the visit they will meet the leadership of the National Transitional Council including Chairman Abdul Jalil, as well as Libyan people from across society.

Speaking before the visit, the Foreign Secretary said “We are here today for one principal reason - to show our support for the Libyan people and for the National Transitional Council, the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. We will discuss the situation on the ground and look forward to next week’s meeting of the Libya Contact Group in Abu Dhabi.

“Britain remains a strong and true friend of Libya. We could not and did not turn a blind eye when Qadhafi turned his forces against innocent civilians. For as long as Qadhafi continues to abuse his people, we will continue and intensify our efforts to stop him.

“We are here together as part of a coordinated and strategic approach to Libya - ensuring that our military, diplomatic and development actions are aligned.

“The UK is committed to this task. Colonel Qadhafi is isolated internationally and domestically. He has lost all legitimacy, continues to abuse human rights without mercy or compunction. He must go”.

Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said “Britain is playing a key role in helping the people of Libya who are suffering at the hands of Colonel Qaddafi. The support I am announcing today for the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) will clear areas of life-shattering mines, preventing the indiscriminate killing of many men, women and children.

“We have already supported refugees on the borders, helped migrant workers to return home, and evacuated people from Misrata to protect them from the ongoing violence. Within Libya we have provided food and medical supplies. Today we are seeing our support in action, and hearing what else may be needed.
It is crucial to help meet immediate needs. But the future of Libya lies in the hands of the Libyan people. That is why we are here, to discuss with the NTC how they plan to bring peace, stability and economic development to their country.”

Published 4 June 2011