Speech

Statement between the PM and the Chairman of the Libyan NTC

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

A transcript of a statement given by Prime Minister David Cameron and Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of the Libyan Interim National Transitional Council (NTC) on Thursday 12 May, 2011.

Prime Minister

Thank you.  I would like to welcome Chairman Abdul Jalil to Number 10 Downing Street, and also his colleagues from the National Transitional Council.  We’ve had important talks this morning, including with the National Security Council, about events in Libya and how we can build the future that the Libyan people deserve.  I’ve been struck again today by the resolve and bravery of Abdul Jalil and those he represents in standing up to a tyrant who is still today killing innocent people in Libya.  The world stands in awe of the sacrifice people have been prepared to make in Benghazi, in Misrata, and in the western mountains and elsewhere, to seek the freedoms that we all take for granted. 

In our military action, in coordination with our coalition partners, Britain is committed to implementing UNSCR 1973 and protecting civilians in Libya.  At the same time, we have made it clear that it is impossible to imagine a real future for Libya with Gaddafi in power, and we will continue to support the development of an open, democratic and free Libya.  In this endeavour, the National Transitional Council is the legitimate political interlocutor in Libya and Britain’s primary partner there.  Just as Gaddafi can have no part in the political transition that lies ahead, it is clear that the National Transitional Council will play a leading role. 

They represent the future of Libya as much as Gaddafi represents its past, a citizens’ movement born out of the struggle of the people of Libya to defend themselves against Gaddafi’s war machine.  This is a movement that did not exist three months ago.  With each week that passes, the Council is getting better organized, is getting more support, is getting stronger, while the regime is getting weaker.  The Council’s road map I believe offers a compelling vision of an open and democratic future.  The United Kingdom has close ties to the Council through our mission in Benghazi.  Our diplomatic team and our military advisers have already coordinated a range of support, including the supply of 1,000 sets of body armour, satellite telephones and humanitarian aid, including funding the evacuation of 4,000 people from Misrata and providing 30 metric tonnes of medical and emergency food supplies to that besieged town. 

In addition, I can today announce a package of measures to strengthen further our cooperation with the Council.  First, the government is today inviting the Council to establish a formal office here in London.  Second, in parallel to this, we will further enhance the UK presence in Benghazi, with specialists who will form the core of an international stabilization response team to Benghazi to advise and assist the Council on its longer-term needs.  Third, we are now completing plans to transfer several million pounds’ worth of equipment to the police in Benghazi.  We will also provide new support to improve the National Transitional Council’s public broadcasting capacities. 

Finally, I am very pleased today that the enhanced UK effort in Benghazi will now be led by John Jenkins as the UK’s new special representative to the National Transitional Council.  Mr Chairman, these steps signal our very clear intent to work with you and your colleagues to ensure that Libya has a safe and stable future free from the tyranny of the Gaddafi regime.  We will work with you to ensure that the international community increases the diplomatic, the economic and the military pressure on this bankrupt regime.  I am very happy to welcome you to Downing Street today and proud to stand alongside you in your struggle for an open, free and decent future for the people of Libya.  Thank you.

Abdul Jalil

Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister. Peace be with you. The delegation and I have come here to this country to express our thanks and gratitude to the British people and their government for their discipline and moral stand and to explain to the British people that we are in the right and that the stand of the British government, with its constituent parties and even the opposition in this country, which supports our rebellion.

This stand was not based on any benefit the British government may derive from this support but it is in the first instance a humanitarian position and it is a moral stand. This is not unknown for the British government and people to take such a stand. The British government and people played a major role in the independence of Libya in 1951. The cultural and administrative help that Britain gave was a very important factor in the 60s. The Libyan people will never forget British Council officers within Libyan territory and its effective role in spreading culture among the Libyan people. This moral and humanitarian stand by Mr Cameron’s government, with its constituent coalition parties, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, and even the opposition parties - this is a stand that derives its strength from the British people and I assure you that you will never regret taking this stand. 

I have come here to express my thanks and gratitude to the British government and people for their support and I appreciate what the Prime Minister has said in terms of increasing military support through NATO and through the decisions and resolutions by the international community in terms of providing protection for civilians. And also the Prime Minister talked about economic help in accordance with the law because we are a people of law and we respect the law. I thank you all and peace be with you. I have invited the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary to visit us in Libya and we will be happy to see them there. Peace be with you.

Prime Minister

Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you very much indeed.