The Minister for the Middle East met a wide range of diplomats, academics, journalists and NGOs at Chatham House to discuss the future of Libya. Over two hundred opinion leaders discussed the issues facing the Libyan regime, the opposition and the international community. The other panellists were Sir Richard Dalton (Associate Fellow of Chatham House and former British Ambassador to Libya), Lindsey Hilsum (International Editor, Channel 4 News) and Ashur al-Shamis (Libyan journalist and opposition figure).
The discussion at Chatham House focused on future prospects for Libya as it tries to move on from the ravages of internal conflict, and make the transition to a stable democracy.
During his address, the Minister reflected on the experiences of the Foreign and Development Secretaries during their visit to Benghazi on 4 June, and his own contacts with eyewitnesses over the last few weeks. He outlined the work being carried out by the British-led stabilisation team to assess what Libya will need in the period ahead of a political settlement. He also looked ahead to the next meeting of the Libya Contact Group in Abu Dhabi on 9 June, and discussed the role that the international community can play in empowering the Libyan people to choose their own future.
Following the conference, the Minister said:
“It is important that we maintain a genuine dialogue with civil society. Having the opportunity to engage with these experts and commentators as well as hearing firsthand accounts of life in Libya has deepened my conviction that the international community is absolutely right to be protecting the Libyan people from the Qadhafi regime.
Today’s discussion was a fascinating opportunity to explore the prospects and challenges in Libya’s future. I firmly believe that the Libyan people will achieve their vision for a free, prosperous and democratic Libya.”