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Libya update

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

Foreign Secretary William Hague on recent developments in Libya.

The Foreign Secretary gave a series of media interviews on 30 August.

On the killing of WPC Yvonne Fletcher, shot outside the Libyan Embassy in London in 1984, the Foreign Secretary reiterated that the National Transitional Council had pledged to co-operate fully with the British authorities on legacy issues and that these would be a priority for the UK in future relations with Libya. He said the UK would “help the Metropolitan Police to conduct investigations including in Libya when the security on the ground allowed” and the NTC had established full control over their own country. He said issues surrounding extradition and Libyan law would be considered depending on the progress of a police investigation.

Commenting on the NTC announcement that those still fighting for Qadhafi had been given until Saturday to surrender, the Foreign Secretary said:

“We’re concerned that unnecessary bloodshed should be avoided. I think the remaining pro-Qadhafi elements trying to defend Sirte should be even more concerned about the situation. They are in a fairly hopeless position militarily without prospect of re-supply or reinforcement in any significant, to any significant degree. They have been given this chance over the next few days to consider their situation, to bring this to an end, to lay down their arms. I think the National Transitional Council are right to give them that opportunity and I’m sure they mean what they say. So it is time for, for the remaining defenders of the remnants of the Qadhafi regime to cease fighting so that Libyans can go on in to a more inclusive and free and hopefully democratic future.”

Asked whether NATO would intervene to prevent an attack on Sirte, he said:

"”No one is going to prevent them being attacked, they are supporting a criminal regime that has harassed and waged war against its own population so now it is time for them to cease fighting and to allow Libyans to unite.”

On the flight of some Qadhafi family members to Algeria and the possibility of their extradition, the Foreign Secretary said it was a matter for the new government in Libya to pursue and launch a judicial process seeking the extradition of members of the Qadhafi family from Algeria. He said the UK hoped that Algeria would cooperate fully with Libya.

The Foreign Secretary said the UK was urging all countries to recognise the NTC as the government of Libya.

“We’re making a lot of progress in this regard. Thirty one additional countries have recognised the NTC as the Government of Libya just since last Monday. We made that recognition at the end of July and I think the NTC are now showing the leadership to get a grip on the situation. The situation, the humanitarian situation in Tripoli which has been difficult is certainly improving. They are giving a strong lead so I think that it’s time the rest of the world followed the Arab League in recognising the NTC as the Government of Libya.”

The Foreign Secretary made clear that NATO had a continuing job to enforce the UN resolutions and to take part in action against any forces harassing the civilian population.