In a written statement to Parliament earlier today, William Hague confirmed that the UK Armed Forces are to train their Libyan counterparts in basic infantry skills and leadership in order to help professionalise them and help them achieve peace and stability across their country. Courses will begin later this year.
The training will take place at a British Army site in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire. Members of the Libyan Armed Forces – all of whom will be vetted in advance for medical, physical and behavioural suitability – will be brought to the UK in a number of small groups for courses which are expected to last a minimum of 10 weeks. The Libyan government will pay the costs of the training.
The training of Libyan Armed Forces personnel in the UK is part of a broader package of defence and security assistance developed with the US, France and Italy. This is aimed at supporting the Libyan government’s efforts to increase the effectiveness and capacity of its security and justice sector institutions, and to ensure the state’s monopoly on security.
As the Prime Minister announced at last month’s G8 Summit in Northern Ireland, in total more than 7,000 members of the Libyan Armed Forces will be trained by some G8 nations.
The government firmly believes that a stable, open and democratic Libya contributing to wider regional stability and security is in the UK’s interest. That is why we are working closely with the US and other European countries to lead the broader international effort, co-ordinated by the UN Support Mission in Libya, to support Libya’s democratic transition and the Libyan authorities’ efforts to make visible improvements in public security in Libya.
The UK’s Armed Forces are recognised as being amongst the best in the world so it is no surprise that we are one of the countries Libya has turned to for this specialist training.
The UK provides world class defence training and education to many countries, creating lasting ties between our Armed Forces and enhancing their ability to work together towards regional security and stability.
Detailed planning remains ongoing and the UK government continues to work on the specific terms of its assistance with the Libyan government. Close engagement will also be conducted with local authorities and the Bassingbourn community in advance of the training commencing.