News story

PM visits Libya to offer aid and support to new government

David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy today met with members of the National Transitional Council (NTC). External site: [The National Transitional Council (NTC)](http://ntclibya.com/Default.aspx?SID=1&ParentID=0&LangID=1) External site: [NATO and Libya](http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-555721E4-5FEC3B2D/natolive/71679.htm) External site: [Libya - why is the UK involved?](http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/global-issues/mena/libya/)

The PM and President Sarkozy are the most senior Western leaders to visit the north African state since the Qadhafi regime fell. They were accompanied by Foreign Secretary William Hague.

In an address to a crowd in Liberty Square in the city of Benghazi, Mr Cameron said:

It’s great to be…in a free Benghazi and a free Libya. Your city was an inspiration to the world. While we are proud of the role that we played to help, we know this was your revolution from your bravery.

Now, just as your courage has written the last chapter of Libyan history, so it must write the next one; and your friends in Britain and in France will stand with you as you build your democracy and build your country for the future.

Earlier, Mr Cameron, who arrived in the Libyan capital Tripoli on board an RAF plane, met members of Libya’s interim government, including its chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil and head Mahmoud Jabril.

The British and French leaders also visited a hospital and a military college in Tripoli to meet civilians injured by fighting.

The Prime Minister announced a further package of UK assistance to support the Libyan-led process to becoming free, democratic and inclusive.

Mr Cameron has pledged that Britain will:

  • deploy, for six months, UK military team to advise the NTC on security
  • make available Libyan assets totalling approximately £600m to the interim authorities
  • make 50 places available in UK specialist hospitals for critically ill Libyans
  • provide £600,000 for clearing landmines across Libya
  • give £1m to fund civilian experts to assist in weapons disposal
  • fund additional communications equipment totalling £60,000 for Libyan police in Benghazi
  • provide forensic advice, if requested, to help gather and preserve evidence of human rights abuses

Speaking at an earlier press conference in Tripoli, Mr Cameron told the NTC and the Libyan people:

We want to help you diplomatically, militarily, economically and with your development. We are your friends, but this is your country, your leadership, your plan.

The PM joined President Sarkozy in saying that the NATO commitment to the Libyan people was not over, and that protecting civilians was a priority.

A new resolution at the UN Security Council tomorrow will provide a framework for international support to the Libyan people, including mechanisms for unfreezing assets.

Libya will resume its seat in the UN next week.

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