News story

Paris conference on Libya

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

The Prime Minister and President Sarkozy have co-chaired an international conference on Libya in Paris.

The meeting was an opportunity to help the National Transitional Council on the path to establishing a free, democratic and inclusive Libya. Over 60 countries attended the meeting along with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Leaders at the conference agreed to continue with NATO operations, bring those guilty of war crimes to justice and to support the National Transitional Council to achieve political transition.

Speaking following the meeting, Mr Cameron said that although “enormous difficulties” lay ahead the Libyans were showing the world their courage, spirit and resilience and said the NATO operation in Libya would continue for “as long as we are needed to protect civilian life”.

Some people thought that chaos would start the moment the regime fell so what we are seeing emerging now in Libya, despite the years of repression and the trauma of recent days and months, is immensely impressive.

Enormous difficulties lie ahead of course but the Libyans are showing the world their courage, their spirit and their resilience.

International leaders at the conference, held in the Elysee Palace, unanimously agreed the need to hand over frozen Libyan assets to the NTC.

Speaking earlier today, the PM stressed that the conference was all about “backing the NTC in the work they want to do”.

This is a Libyan-owned, Libyan-led process.  The international community are there to help, there to give assistance, there to give advice, but the action and the plan is being drawn up and carried out by the Libyans, and that’s right.” 

Mr Cameron said lessons had been learnt from Iraq and past conflicts and this was reflected in the fact there have not been occupying armies or invading forces.

Yesterday, the Foreign Secretary confirmed the Royal Air Force had delivered 280 million dinars (c£140m) to the Central Bank of Libya in Benghazi.

 The newly minted banknotes were part of a stock of 1.86bn dinars printed in the UK, which were frozen under UNSCR 1970 at the start of the crisis in Libya in order to prevent them falling into the hands of the Qadhafi regime.

External site: Libya - why is the UK involved?

External site: British support to meet the urgent humanitarian needs in Libya