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HMS Bulwark has visited the Libyan port of Tripoli in support of a ministerial visit from the UK.
The ship, which is part of the Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group (RFTG) and has been taking part in the Cougar 13 deployment, called in to Tripoli to support a visit by UK Minister for the Armed Forces Mark Francois and provided the platform for a UK Trade and Industry event.
Twelve British firms presented a range of services – including border security systems, explosive ordnance disposal, legal advice and services and specialist advice on education – to visitors from the Libyan Prime Minister’s office as well as representatives from the Libyan Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defence.
Talking about his visit to the defence security and industry event hosted on HMS Bulwark, Mr Francois said:
I would like to reiterate the British government’s support for the Libyan authorities in rebuilding its security structures. Well-equipped and well-trained personnel are vital to deal with today’s security challenges.
Co-operation between Libya and the UK in this field is a growing element of our increasingly close bilateral relationship.
While in Libya, Commodore Paddy McAlpine, Commander United Kingdom Task Group, and Captain Andrew Burns, commanding officer of HMS Bulwark, took the opportunity to visit the Chief of Staff of the Libyan Navy and the commanding officer of Tripoli Naval Base.
Commodore McAlpine said:
We have been very warmly welcomed during this important visit to Tripoli in support of the Minister for the Armed Forces. Our presence here reaffirmed the Royal Navy’s commitment to Libya’s transition to a stable and lasting democracy.
Our connection with the Libyan Navy stretches back to the 1960s and I am confident we will continue to be trusted and close maritime partners.
Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Libya, His Excellency Mr Michael Aron, hosted a reception on board HMS Bulwark for a number of senior government and military leaders including the Minister for Defence, Chief of Joint Operations of the Libyan Armed Forces, Chief of Staff of the Libyan Navy and Chief of Staff of the Libyan Army.
HMS Bulwark has been deployed since August and has conducted maritime and amphibious exercises with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, and recently visited Karachi in Pakistan.
The Cougar 13 deployment has been operating in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Gulf, and around the Horn of Africa.
It involves exercising with partner nations and shows the UK Armed Forces’ capacity to project an effective maritime component anywhere in the world as part of the RFTG.
The RFTG is the UK’s high readiness maritime force, comprising ships, submarines, aircraft and a landing force of Royal Marines held at short notice to act in response to any contingency tasking if required.