The PMS provided an update on the Prime Minister’s visit to Libya, where he has visited a police training college, met local people in Tripoli’s Martyrs’ Square and had bi-lateral meetings with the Libyan Prime Minister and President.
The focus of the visit was to discuss security, and there has been an agreement for the UK government to provide extra support and expertise to Libya, mainly through training and advisors. The PM congratulated the Libyans on the visible progress that has been made in creating an effective and accountable government, and encouraged them to do more.
On trade, UKTI has launched various trade missions to support British business and build on our trade relations in the region. The PMS highlighted that the British company DeLaRue won a contract worth £45m to print Libya’s new currency.
And the PM had welcomed the Libyans’ decision to grant visas for members of the Dumfries and Galloway Police Force who are investigating the Lockerbie bombing.
Asked if Parliament should authorise the deployment of troops to Mali, the PMS underlined the point that British troops were being offered in a training role, not a combat role. Discussions about our offer were ongoing and no decisions had been made on numbers or duration.
Asked when the defence spending increase that the PM has expressed a desire to see would start, the PMS said that the PM, in his comments made in 2010, were very clear: he had said “beyond 2015″. The PMS added that the PM’s comments were a matter of public record, and he does not resile them.
Asked about the PM’s position on Britain and the EU. The PMS said that the Prime Minister set out his views on Britain’s relationship with the EU in great detail in his recent speech and referred journalists to it.