tv Today in Washington CSPAN September 7, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EDT
he asked about longer-term relationships. the british council and others, clearly, once the security situation is in a better state, those relationships can be built and built i think from a very strong basis. on the issue of the strategic defense review, i would argue, having followed this very closely through the national security council on libya that met sometimes daily through this conflict that actually the case for what we're doing in the strategic defense review has been proved. it's been proved and it's the right decision to keep the tornado aircraft with the storm shadow capability and they perform magnificently over the skies of libya. i think typhoon in many ways has come of age. one of the things that became clear in the conflict was the need for greater eyes in the sky, greater technical capabilities. and that's provided for in the strategic defense review. having said that, of course, after any conflict like this and intense period of military and
government and humanitarian activity he's right to learn the lessons and my national security adviser will be leading a lessons learned exercise in terms of how a white hall machine operated and what lessons we can learn. this should include the operation of the oil cell which i think did a very good job trying to help deny oil to the regime but to make sure that the rebels who are not getting oil products got them. he mentioned the u.n. resolution on syria. we'll continue to work for that. the eu oil embargo is an important step forward and has a real effect. above all i thank him for what he said and i agree we can take pride in what british forces and officials have done on this occasion. >> understandably there is wide interest in the prime minister's statement. if i am to accommodate that interest, i require brevity. in pursuit of a helping hand, i look to an old hand, mr.
nichol nicholas sohms. >> thank you, mr. speaker. may i enjoin myself with the praise for the prime minister for the magnificent performance of the british armed forces. and, indeed, for the courage and resolution of the libyan people. but will the prime minister agree with me that matters are inevitably about to come a little messy in libya in the months to come. and it will be important for britain to continue to offer what help it can in a spirit of general cooperation and humility. >> i think that is absolutely right. i think it's very important that when people are looking at the humanitarian plan, the reconstruction plan, the plan for political progress in libya, we recognize this is something the libyans are doing themselves. we're there to help. we're there to assist. it's their plan, not our plan. and i think humility on this occasion is absolutely right. >> mr. jack straw? >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, and also the remarks of my friend in praising
the leadership which the prime minister, foreign secretary, other ministers have shown during the whole of this period, there is no doubt that this was very decisive in securing international cooperation and in following it through. only obligations that have been made overnight, as foreign secretary at the time i say two things. first as he knows it was the consistent policy of the previous government as his, wholly to be opposed to any accomplicety in torture or ill treatment or unlawful rendition. but second to say, given the serious nature of these allegations it is entirely right that they should be examined in every detail by the inquiry under gibson. >> can i thank him for what he sbats myself and the foreign secretary and others. can i say on the issue that he raises, i think it's right that sabita gibson can look at this whole area but i think it is important that nobody rushes to judgment. we have to remember in 2003, two
years after 9/11, you had a situation where there was a libyan terrorist group that was allied to al qaeda and at all times our security services and intelligence services are trying to work for the good of the country to keep us safe. so i think it is very important to remember the circumstances at the time. i think anyone should not rush to judgment but it is his view, my view, the view of the entire house that britain should never be complicit in torture or in extraordinary rendition and it is very important that we make sure that's the case. >> my right honorable friend has been circumspect in his references to the documents which have recently emerged and with good reason. but i wonder if you would agree with me there is one lesson that can be held at this stage and that is particularly when dealing with unsavory regimes in the shadowy world of intelligence, it is necessary to maintain both fastidiousness and
distance so as to avoid accusations of impropriety or illegality. >> i think my rival friend is entirely right. and as i put it in my statement the accusation is that after libya came in from the cold and gave up the weapons of mass destruction, the relationship almost at times became too close. there was a degree of credulity. but i do think it is important to just put on record our thanks for the security services and what they do. what i've tried to do, what this government has tried to do is put in place a new set of arrangements, so proper guidance to intelligence and security services personnel to clear out these guantanamo bay cases that we're going to drag through our courts and bring our security services and our country down and to deal with them properly and then to have an inquiry so we get to the bottom of what happened and if there was any malpractice we deal with it. i think it is very important that we clear this issue
ha the human rights abuses in those countries. >> well, i've certainly joined the honorable gentleman in loathing the human rights abuses taking place in syria and i think what we've seen happening is simply appalling, the loss of life, the damage and terror that the president is inflicting on his own people. on the issue of russia, i think one of the things that's been encouraging was the fact that the russians came to the paris conference and were one of the 63 countries represented there and supported the statement that came out of that conference about nato continuing its work
and making sure we complete the job in libya. he's right to then say from a sedentary position what about syria? i think the whole international community can learn the lesson of some success in libya and apply that elsewhere in terms of the unity we need to see in the security council to put the pressure on syria. >> someone who had reservations about the principle of intervention, can i congratulate the prime minister on a successful outcome in libya, which was largely achieved by two aspects? one that it was legal and, secondly, had the support of the libyan people. but further, to the last question, using it as an illustration to persuade permanent members of the security council such as russia and china that a well conducted intervention can successfully be used to restrain autocrats in countries such as syria. >> i am grateful to my honorable friend for what he says. i think everyone should have misgivings about these sorts of operations and one should never
have a naive belief that they're easy or that everything is going to go to plan. that very rarely happens. i think we should always be hard headed and careful about these things. i think also we should respect the fact that this is not done yet. this is not completed yet. and also i think we should be very cautious about trying to draw up a new doctrine. it seems as soon as we establish a new doctrine a case comes up that flies completely in its face. but i do hope that other members of the security council will see that there has been a success in removing a dictator and giving that country a chance of peaceful and democratic progress, which would be good for the world. >> jeremy corbin? >> will the inquiry conducted by sabita gibson be held entirely in public? will it have access to all of the documents that have been discovered in libya which apparently have now been taken under control of the transitional national council? and will it also look at the question of british military involvement with libya up until march of this year and what
lessons can be learned from that? >> i am grateful for the gentleman's question. some of it will be held in public some by necessity because of the very sensitive nature will be held in private. in terms of documentation he will have access to all the paperwork he wants to see. clearly, what has come out of libya in recent days is relevant to him and i think he's already made an announcement saying he is looking forward to seeing that information. in terms of britain's relations with libya, as i've said, i think it's entirely understandable that it was the last government's wish to have a new relationship with libya after getting rid of weapons of mass destruction. i think in some instances it was too credulous. obviously we need to think carefully about our security and military involvement and sales to all regimes which is why the start of the arab spring we reviewed our practices and should keep them under review. >> mr. patrick mercer.
>> thank you, mr. speaker. how concerned is the prime minister about reports of islamist influence in the new libyan government? >> i think one should treat all these reports with concern and we should obviously always prepare for who we're dealing with but what i'd say is this. i think one of the long-term answers to islamic extremism is actually successful development of democracy in the arab world. i think this is a three-part play. it's -- part one is getting rid of bin laden. part two is greater democracy across the middle east, and part three is the solution to the arab/israeli conflict. and to think that, supporting these dictators helped us deal with islamic extremism. i think is profoundly wrong. we find many of the islamic extremists that we are fighting or dealing with in pakistan or even afghanistan come out of countries like libya or syria and we should ask why.
>> the libyans split their country during the last few months. what discussions have been in place with countries such as italy and malta to enable those who fled to return? >> well the italians and maltese are extremely keen that they should return and i think there is now every reason that they can return. i've been impressed by the members of the libyan group here in london who have been in and out of libya while the situation was going on. pressure has been very great particularly on small countries like malta and we use our embassies elsewhere in the world to try to help them with this issue. >> dr. lewis? >> does the prime minister see any room for the intelligence and security committee in investigating the allegation, which if true would be both shameful and shocking that britain had a part in handing suspects over to the gadhafi regime even in the context of 2003?
>> well, it's absolutely a matter for the intelligence and security committee, what they examine. but i'm sure that my friend and member will want to look carefully at these allegations. i don't think any of us should rush to judgment. we do have to remember the situation the whole world and this country was in post 9/11 where there was a real concern about people who wanted to damage our country. the libyan international fighting group was allied with al qaeda. it's not anymore. it's separated itself from that organization. so let's let these inquiries take their course but not rush to judgment about them. >> mr. nigel does. >> may i join in the congratulations to the libyan people and the prime minister's colleagues and political leadership during this time. he rightly talked about the issue of legacy and referred to fletcher. he says a series of problems
from the past. among those will be the issue of compensation justice for the many hundreds of victims of libyan sponsored ira terrorism. can i seek assurance from the prime minister that he continues to back the case for justice and will do what he can to secure compensation from the new regime? >> i certainly will do that and it is a vitally important issue. there is no doubt that the libyan provision of semtex to the i.r.a. was immensely damaging and over many years and possibly even still today. and so i think we need to be very clear that this is going to be an important bilateral issue between britain and the new libyan authorities. clearly, we've got to let this government get its feet under the desk but it is very, very high on my list of items. >> mr. peter lily. >> after the liberation of kuwait in which britain also played a significant part the financial costs of our contribution were fully reimbursed, largely by kuwait, itself. does my right honorable friend intend to seek a similar
contribution from libyan authorities once oil begins to flow? >> that's not a consideration that we've gone into so far. i mean, clearly, there have been costs to the uk from this operation, costs in the region of 120 million pounds excluding munitions. obviously this is funded outside the defense budget through the reserves so it won't impact other defense spending. but the gentleman makes an important point that we can bear in mind. >> mr. tony lloyd. >> the prime minister quite rightly made the point there would be no process taking place in libya but nevertheless the reality is that the institutions across libya are both corrupted and very weak and in particular the courts and central functioning society and how gadhafi's placement in position, will britain perhaps with the european union put real effort into making sure we do support the development of the civil
structures? >> we will certainly make available our advice if it's wanted on those sorts of issues. specifically in paris they talked about the importance of police training and trying to make sure that the police were properly independent. it was encouraging to hear them say that. and of course having a strong independent justice system is part of any free and democratic society so we stand by to help in any way we can. >> jane swenson. >> i welcome the progress for the libyan people and also the success for the united nations principal responsibility to protect. the catalyst was the sath of february with the widows, mothers and sisters of the massacre. women played a crucial role in the revolution and are a vital resource for the tough task ahead of rebuilding libya. so what can our government do to encourage the involvement of women at all levels in the decision making processes in the ntc and national conference in line with the u.n. security council resolution and also the
wishes of organizations such as women for libya? >> i think the honorable lady makes an important point and one of the best ways to do this is work with the ngos who have particular expertise in this area. i repeat again i think this is not the same as iraq where basically an intervention knocked over a government and there was then a process and we had to try and put back in place what had gone. here what we're doing is trying to work with the libyans who are putting in place these things themselves. so i absolutely agree that a much stronger society would emerge if there is a proper and appropriate role for women as tragically there isn't in so many societies but i think going through ngos is probably the right answer. >> i join with others with commending the prime minister's role in this. there were 8,000 libyan students starting a new life in the kingdom at the moment 2,000 of whom are state sponsored. the funds for these students are being held by the british arab commercial bank. they cannot release the funds
without the approval of the ntc. could he use his good offices to make sure that this matter is resolved so the students can complete their studies and return to rebuild their country? >> i thank the gentleman for what he says and his kind comments. my understanding is the money is now being released but if there are any problems we'll certainly try and help secure that. i think there will be a welter of these problems of dealing with unfrozen assets of people who got stuck in a different country and all the rest of it and who have to work through each of these problems in turn. >> mr. bernard jenchin. >> may i commend my right honorable old friend for acting in a way that vindvindicates hi policy of britain acting as an effective global power and can i also commend him for not rushing to a new doctrine or going back to an old one like liberal interventionism but does this not demonstrate the importance of maintaining armed forces with
global reach so that we can influence global events and project our interests? >> i'm very grateful for my honorable friend's comments. what i said about doctrine is just that i think if you overdue your belief in a particular doctrine you'll find the next problem that confronts you will fall completely outside it and you have to spend a lot of time inventing a new doctrine to deal with that one. i'm practical, conservative, you're right. i'm a practical, liberal conservative and that's whey believe and i think this was a practical, liberal, conservative intervention. in terms of -- it's a way of thinking. in terms of what he says about armed forces being able to project, i absolutely agree. you don't maintain that reach in power by not having a defense plan, by sticking with mass battle tanks in europe. what you need to do is modernize your armed forces and make sure you have the reach for the challenges of the future. i repeat what i said. far from disproving these
strategic defense review i think libya proved the case with the sort of changes that we're making. >> mr. david winnik, no one will be sorry to see the end of gadhafi's criminal regime deeply involved as well with international terrorism. but there is some hypocrisy in all this. isn't it the fact that up to this year britain was actually sending sniper rifles to the gadhafi regime, crowd control equipment, and now we learn there was a close collaboration between some western countries, not only britain, and the gadhafi regime, where terror suspects were actually sent to gadhafi's torture chamber? >> far be it from me to join him in attacking the last government. the point i make is this. to be fair, i think it was right to have a new relationship with libya when we could persuade them to get rid of their weapons
of mass destruction, discontinue their nuclear program, and try to take a different path. i have my criticisms that i think the last government was then too gullible in going too far in that direction and, specifically, when we had the o'donnell report in to megrahi it found the last government was trying to facilitate his release but i don't generalize the intent of wanting any relationship. what really changed was the treatment of gadhafi of his own people and that was the moment for the world to act and i'm proud of the fact that the world did. >> rory stewart? >> thank you, mr. speaker. the most impressive aspects of this intervention is the libyan pride in what libyans see as the libyan event. would the prime minister reassure the house that he'll do all he can to restrain the irresistible desire of the international community to micro manage and over intervene and remember in this kind of intervention less is more. >> i know my honorable friend speaks with considerable
knowledge because rather against my will he spent two days last week in tripoli. and he's seen for himself that the libyans are managing this transition quite effectively but i think what he says about trying to make sure we understand our role in this as backing a libyan plan rather than substituting our judgment for theirs is the right way ahead. >> carol iain luine lucas? >> to ascertain whether his predecessor tony blaire personally authorized the items that led to the removal to tripoli in 2003. the nine human rights agencies who don't currently feel they can cooperate with it because it is not up to the standards of human rights will he review it so it will be open and transparent and get to the bottom of these questions? >> let me put the honorable lady right on one thing. there is a rule which you cannot willy nilly just see the papers provided to a previous
government. i think governments would spend probably their entire time doing it rather than actually governing the country which is what they're supposed to do. that's why there is an inquiry. it's being carried out by an independent judge and we should allow sabita gibson to get to the bottom of what happened in this case and indeed the decisions ministers made if they were ministerial and ministers at the time will have to answer for them. i believe that's the right approach and the one we'll be following. >> jane ellison. >> thank you mr. speaker. i welcome the prime minister's statement today. many constituents have probably said something along the lines of we don't want another iraq over the last few months and obviously that and the post conflict stage are very much on people's minds. could the prime minister be more detailed about how the lessons of post conflict iraq are being brought forward and applied in this situation? >> i think, honorable lady, a lot of people have said we don't want another iraq but we should also listen to those people who say we don't want another
bosnia. i think the prevention of a massacre was very important in these circumstances. on the issue of the difference between libya and iraq i would say this. because the libyan operation hasn't involved an occupying force or invading army, the libyan people rightly feel this is something they have done largely themselves. yes, with nato assistance for which they're very grateful but just as they own the end of gadhafi so they are owning the transition to democracy and all the problems of disorder and crime that will be in the interim. but from what i can see they're dealing with these problems well and we should be with them, helping rather than telling them what to do. >> andrew miller? >> my honorable friend, i ask about migration. one of the issues that became clear during the previous regime was that many of the people that ended up in malta originated not from libya but from other
countries sponsored by an illegal criminal network which no doubt gadhafi had some role in. that means that some of those places have got huge numbers of difficult cases to manage. how is he going to manage that and can he assure the house that he will open up dialogue with the ntc to make sure that those criminal groups are closed down straight away? >> i'll certainly do that. first of all, i think it is important to get this in perspective. you remember the countries of northern europe. we still get more asylum claims than the countries of southern europe. so i think we have to bear that in mind. the second point i'd make is as i said we have this relationship with malta where clearly they can't afford to have embassies all over the world. we use our embassies in countries to try and help them to return people to countries of origin because as the honorable gentleman says many people coming through libya are not from libya. >> mr. mark pritchard? >> mr. speaker, is it not the
case that the new constitution of libya to be legitimate and sustainable that freedom of speech and freedom of religion are very much included in the new constitution? in particular, protection given to the orthodox church, roman catholic church, serbian orthodox, russian orthodox, and the greek orthodox church? >> i think my honorable friend makes a good point and we've seen this particularly in egypt, the importance of protecting koptic christians and others and i am very heartened by what the chairman has said about respect for human rights and tolerance and i'm sure he'll want to follow those things through. >> roy? >> an estimation given to british oil workers regarding jobs in libya? >> i don't have an estimation for that. but i think it's in libya's interest that the production of oil gets back to normal as fast as possible. some people say this could still take up to three years to get
back to its full capacity. i think the encouraging thing is a lot of the refineries and other oil installations have not been badly damaged and so there is no reason why this shouldn't happen as rapidly as possible. >> like other members of the house i'd like to congratulate the prime minister on the leadership he's shown in supporting the libyan people over the last few months. can he tell the house what role is envisioned for the arab league and other arab nations in the post conflict reconstruction of libya in months ahead? >> i am grateful for what my honorable friend says. i think there will be a big role for the arab league because one of the things i think where we can try and learn the lessons of the past is that i don't think libya will want to see, as i said in my statement, huge numbers of people driving around in 4 x 4s telling them what to do. i think arab assistance can play a huge role in helping them to get back on their feet. but they seem very keen to do a
lot of this on their own. >> hugh bailey? >> you are absolutely right to stress that the political future of libya needs to be determined by the libyan people and not by outsiders. can it cast any light on the statements coming at the moment from the african union that they have concerns that the transitional arrangements are not fully inclusive and what discussions is he as foreign secretary having with key african leaders to ensure that only future u.n. resolution gets african buy in? i was very encouraged that at the paris meeting there were a number of african leaders there strongly supportive of the ntc, strongly supporting of democratic transition in libya and, frankly, i think the african union hasn't always been as clear as i would like it to be about the importance of democracy and freedom and human rights and progress in libya. i hope now that all the countries of the african union will get behind the new libyan authorities and give them the support and help they need.
>> mr. andrew rosendale, i think the whole house will be celebrating the end of the monstrous gadhafi regime. will the prime minister assure the house that he will continue to put pressure on the new government of libya to ensure that the killers of pc are brought to justice? >> like my honorable friend i feel this is an extremely important issue in the bilateral relationship between britain and libya at the paris conference i spoke to the prime minister about this issue and said how important it is to people in our country. it's an appalling act, a reminder of what the gadhafi regime was capable of. we should put it alongside the provision of the semtex of the i.r.a. that took hundreds of lives, alongside the appalling act of blowing up an airliner over the skies of scotland. this regime was capable of appalling things and now there is a chance to find justice for these people and we should pursue it very strongly. >> wright davis. >> i welcome the prime minister's statement but given that we are in the aftermath of
what in many respects is a civil war, how comfortable is he with the 20-month time frame for the delivery of a new constitution and elections? and what measures will be put in place to protect human rights and political rights, including freedom of movements of international observers? >> i believe the timetable is realistic and i think the key issue is whether we have faith in the national transitional council. i find throughout my dealings with prime minister gigril and chairman jalil both of whom i've met on a number of occasions they wanted to be national representing the whole country bringing country together. they wanted to be transitional. this is a move toward democracy not a takeover and that they see the future of libya not in an islamist or tribal fashion but a democracy. now, clearly, we'll have islamic elements. this is a muslim country. but i think that that's the path they want to take and a path we can encourage.
>> i strongly welcome the prime minister's statement especially in relation to the inquiry which could be critically important to our future good relations with the new libya. can i ask the prime minister if it can include consideration of the role and pace of the old regime's intelligence chief? >> the issue around koussa is he is helping the police with the inquiries into for instance the yvonne fletcher case, and they are going to go on having conversations with him and that will go ahead. as far as sabita gibson is concerned his inquiry can go where the evidence leads and he can call for papers he wants to see and the key thing he is looking at is the accusations of complicity with torture or rendition or malpractice and maltreatment. that is what he's looking at. >> could we join the prime minister in paying tribute to the great men and women of our armed forces and also welcome the extensions of the inquiry.
does the prime minister believe that inquire u is enough to get to the bottom this of truly awful and reprehensible allegation? will he for example be able to interview former labor ministers and ask what they knew about these operations? will he also be able to make judgment of the activities and actions of the last labor government? >> well, as i said, what gibson will be able to do is call for papers and call for people and to question people about the decisions that they took and he's looking into accusations of complicity, mistreatment, rendition, complicity to torture and all of those things and that it will be for ministers, whether in the last government or not, if they have questions to answer they will need to answer those questions. that's the correct way for these things to be done. >> john baron. >> mr. speaker what does the prime minister believe to be the lessons from our intervention when it comes to possible future interventions given that the arab league contained countries like syria and we as a country refused to help citizens of the
yemen and bahrain? >> i don't subscribe to the idea that because you can't fix every problem in the world you shouldn't fix any. it seemed here was a problem we had a moral obligation to deal with to prevent a massacre. but because there was an ought there was also a could. we were able to do this because we had support of arab nations, nato behind us. we convinced the u.n. security council to vote for this so when ought and can come together it's a pretty good case for action. >> thank you mr. speaker. the prime minister has spoken of hope across the wider region following events in libya. will the premium he and other national leaders have put on inclusion and consensus in building constitutions and the
primacy of democratic elections also be reflected in their response to the current efforts of the palestinian authority in respect of this given that this is the target month in which it was to be recognized at the u.n.? >> as i said earlier, i see that all these issues are linked just as we want to see greater democracy, peace and progress in middle eastern countries across the board so we want to see the palestinians have the dignity of their own state. but we believe in the two state solution so it must be a palestine along side a secure israel. that is, i think the test for us when it comes to this whole issue of recognition is are we doing something that is going to help push forward the peace process? that is the most important thing. in the end, we can't compel israel and palestine to reach peace between themselves. they have to want to do it. >> as the prime minister knows
i've called for several years for an inquiry to rendition but i have to say the preparatory work -- is the prime minister aware he has already decided not to follow the same certification process used by lord butler in his inquiry to ensure that he got the right papers? he has decided against appointing an independent investigator and the country to the spirit of the reply the prime minister gave when setting up the gibson inquiry he will not be looking at detainee transfers in theatre. will he look again at the protocol to ensure that mr. gibson can do a proper job? >> i will look very carefully at what my honorable friend says because he has been pursuing this issue with dogged determination over the years and quite right, too. what i would say, though, in relation to this, is we are dealing obviously -- this is an inquiry almost entirely concerned with the security and intelligence services. it's extremely difficult area to inquire into. it has to be done with great
sensitivity. i don't want to do anything that puts our country at risk or anything that jeopardizes the work of our security and intelligence services so i see this as a package. there was the clearing of the guantanamo bay cases, vital so the security services could get on with their work. there was the new guidance. officers in the field knew what they should and should not do. there is this inquiry to try and clear up the problems of the past. yes, it's about uncovering any mistreatment or malpractice and that's not to be justified in any way. but it's also to enable our security services to get on with the job of keeping us safe. >> madeline moon? >> the prime minister has rightly paid praise to the 2,300 service personnel. their professionalism and skills and if libya is to take over responsibility for its own security so that our service personnel can return to base and other duties, will it ensure that financially the training we can provide in building the new libyan army, air force, and navy
is competitive with other countries so that we can pull our service personnel back, provide the training, and hopefully build a new form of relationship between our armed forces? >> well, certainly we will make available our advice and services and help for the new libya. as i've said we must allow them to choose what we want to do rather than force things on them. i don't think we should have the attitude because we've helped to liberate libya therefore we should get some sort of automatic preferred status. i think we should do it on the basis of what we have to offer and we should do it on the basis of all the normal rules and regulations we bring to this. >> mr. tobias elwood? >> could i commend the prime minister's resolve on this issue. he is right to stress that it is for the libyan people to determine the future but the removal of gadhafi actually is a complex network of tribal al allian alliances and we aren't out of the woods yet. does he agree stability over the next few months is critical if we are to see a role reversal
where the rebels become the state and pro gadhafi tribal forces become the insurgents? >> my friend is quite right to draw attention to the risks there are as we move from a situation of gadhafi in command to gadhafi now on the run and the ntc taking over. there are all sorts of risks and we shouldn't be complacent or over confident about what will follow. all i would say is that those who warned that this was a country so full of tribal loyalties and divided between benghazi and tripoli and so prone to extreme islam, so far those have not been proven to be the case. this revolution wasn't about extremism. al qaeda played no part in it. it was about people yearning for a voice and a job and i think it is our duty to get behind them and help them build this new country. >> mr. steve mckay? >> mr. speaker, as the prime minister has indicated some of the rebels do have an al qaeda
past. we all want good relations with the new libya. does he agree it's important this has as much information as possible about the histories of who is now assuming positions of power so that frankly we know exactly who we're dealing with? >> of course that information is valuable and as i said we shouldn't be naive in thinking that we're dealing with one type of people. we're dealing with all sorts of different people but i think this idea of trying to encourage people who have a strong belief in the muslim faith into a democratic role rather than a -- is the right approach. when people, obviously, there are concerns about where this can lead but i think when you look at a country like turkey where you have a government that does have some pedigree out of muslim politics you can see that
can be compatible with a very successful democracy. >> mr. raymond tischly. >> thank you. on syria with regards to the situation the international community has come to the conclusion it has become a legitimate regime. we've seen arab countries like saudi arabia, kuwait, jordan withdraw their ambassadors from syria. how far away are we? >> well, i think we should act with others and we should act in a way that maximizes our influence. i think what's happened among arab countries and their progressive recognition that assad is illegitimate and cannot now take his country forward i think is very important. we still haven't got it a position where there is a unanimity across the arab world or indeed in the united nations itself. >> mr. william fay. >> thank you, mr. speaker. although libya is the second richest nation in terms of gdp per capita, it suffers from unemployment rates in excess of oo%. can the prime minister say how the international community can
help the new libyan government develop and to increase libya's share of trade with the eu and other major trading partners? >> i think the honorable gentleman raises a very important point which is why we're trying to change and sucti change the entire neighborhood policy to make it much more about market access and trade if these north african countries traded as much with each other and the european union as european countries do that have far higher gdps and much more balanced economies. i think the exciting thing about libya is that because of its oil wealth and relative size it can be an economic success story. too many countries have found oil to be a curse rather than a blessing but libya has this opportunity with the new start and to use the oil revenue for good use. >> the british government has planned to play a role in the training of the new military forces of the new libyan
government. will this be greater or less than those allocated by the previous labor government in the training colonel gadhafi's forces which enabled him to better repress his own people? >> it was an ingenious question, mr. speaker. the point is that we should wait to see what it is that the libyans want us to do. clearly, we have strong capabilities in training armed forces, police forces, advising on independent judiciary and the like. i think we should make those available and see what it is the libyans want. on this issue of training the police forces of other countries, this is a difficult issue because if you get into it on the one hand, you'll be accused of helping a regime that isn't perfect in every sense but if you don't you don't have the opportunity to try and explain some of the finer points of independent policing and respect for human rights. now this is a very difficult issue we haven't yet got right. thank you, mr. speaker.
rightly emphasized in relation to syria, president assad has lost all legitimacy and should stand aside and the violence must end. at the same time he recognizes there is not yet the degree of international agreement necessary to give effect to those expressions of intent. could he tell us rather more what he is doing to try, what he and his government are doing to try and build international agreement to the level where it does become possible to force president assad to pay attention to what he described in the relation to libya as the moral imperative of stopping the slaughter of civilians? >> well, i think the answer is that it's a series of permanent conversations particularly that my right old friend the foreign secretary is having. at the european level there is a high degree of unity and i think the eu in some ways has led the way particularly with the oil embargo but we also have to have and are having very strong discussions with the permanent members of the security council and as honorable friend mentioned russia which i'll be
viscsiting soon but also nonpermanent members like south africa and others but also more widely so that we build international support including in the arab league there is no substitute here for just quite a lot of hard work and diplomacy to try and build the strongest possible coalition. >> m clifton brown? >> mr. speaker, my right old friend's actions in saving many lives in libya have been totally vindicated. no order that the transition of the national council isn't overwhelmed with offers of help, who will take the lead in reconstruction in libya and precisely what role will this country play? >> well, i'm very grateful to my honorable friend for what he says. the key here has been building up, and my ripe old friend the development secretary is key to this building up a libyan led and libyan owned plan for transition. it is their plan. we've assisted and helped coordinate but it is their plan and then other people can get into it. it has been very interesting
listening to the things they want. not all the things you would expect. the biggest single demand they made in paris was for the need for temporary classrooms because so many schools have been used by gadhafi's forces and indeed for some temporary housing. so we will fit into these requests but it is a libyan led plan. >> mr. andrew love? >> i understand that it is indeed early days for the new libya but can the prime minister see just a little more about the discussions around unfreezing assets in libya? because justifiably there is a need and urgency to distribute these assets. there is also some concern about the, whether they will go to the correct places and indeed whether or not the concerns around this room will come to fruition which may be affected by those assets. can the prime minister say just a little more about the discussions so far? >> well, the honorable gentleman raises an important point. at the moment what we're doing
is taking through parts of unfreezing assets on an ad hoc basis through the u.n. security council so we were able to unfreeze the libyan dinars printed in this country and we can now distribute them back to the libyan people. in terms of making sure they're properly received as i said in my statement, there should be a proper accounting and transparency initiative in libya. in terms of having a more general asset release we need a new u.n. resolution and we're pushing for that. but of course we don't want to lose what we have at the moment which is a u.n. resolution that enables the nato mission to go on protecting civilians. it's a balance of trying to get both those things so that the assets can be unfrozen more broadly. >> mr. ben wallace? >> thank you, mr. speaker. the last government consistently told us that the whole reason for the work inclusive with libya was the agreement reached in 2003 with the weapons of mass destruction. with the collapse of the gadhafi regime we now see gadhafi hardly kept any part of that agreement. he hoarded massive stocks of chemical weapons continually to
brutalize and ignore human rights. doesn't the prime minister think it is rather odd the last government knew that all along and for the eight years continued to increase cooperation with the libyans? >> well, i think my old friend makes an important point. we now hopefully with a new government in libya will be able to see how much of the agreement over weapons of mass destruction was kept. when it is concerning that there are still large supplies of unweaponized mustard gas that have to be kept a very close eye on by the international community and now by the ntc. as i say, when the new government gets its feet under the table perhaps we'll find out more. >> my constituents who in the process of completing a contract with the libyan oil industry, when the uprising started, now the failure of that contract to come to completion will cause significant financial problems for them. it's taken me over two months to get the department of business to come back to me. can the prime minister tell me whether he will be able to get
the british businesses in the middle of contracts with libya any support and what way he'll be able to put behind them? >> well, i think the honorable gentleman raises an important point and it will help that we've now not only got the mission in benghazi but our ambassador will be coming established in tripoli as well. that will have the full support in companies like the one he represents in his constituency will be able to get in contact with the embassey and they'll help him with that contract mr. philip holliday. >> i commend the prime minister for his leadership throughout this episode but can i press him on the issue of costs? what is the latest treasury estimate of the cost of british intervention in libya and given that some $15 billion of assets are about to be unfrozen, given that libya is an oil rich nation, given that the arab league wanted us to get involved, surely it's not unreasonable to ask for at least a contribution to the cost the british taxpayers spent in freeing this country? >> i think my old friend makes
an entirely reasonable point. the costs so far have been 120 million pounds in terms of our contribution to operations. the costs in terms of munitions spent is somewhere in excess of that figure. i think around 140 million pounds. clearly, britain has spent money to help the libyan people to free themselves and as you say, this is a wealthy country. we haven't had those conversations to date but i'm sure that those are things we can take into account for the future. >> can i congratulate the prime minister on the leadership role played by him and his team. but does he agree with me that this is ultimately a libyan and not foreign tribe? >> i think the point my old friend makes is very important that this wouldn't have happened without the libyan people. they took the initiative. we were able to help them. i think it is very important for the future development of the country that young libyans in the future learn about the incredibly heroic things their fathers and grandfathers did. this was something they did for
themselves rather than we did for them. and in terms of the history and their pride and what i hope they're going to build in their country i think they'll be fantastically important for the future. >> mike hancock. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the widespread media interest in the whereabouts of moussa koussa could the prime minister confirm he is still in the united kingdom? if not what part did he play in letting him leave the united kingdom? if he isn't in the united kingdom how can he expect our intelligence services to properly debrief him? >> i believe that mr. koussa iss currently in dohan, including with the police inquiry has been questioned by the police and there were no special deals done and i hope this special investigation will continue. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the act of surrendering is probably the most dangerous
thing a competent has to do. how can we encourage the forces of the tnc to act within the rules of war, specifically the geneva convention because if they do, it will encourage the remnants of gadhafi's forces to surrender quicker and we'll have less loss of life. >> my honorable friend speaks with great knowledge about this. frankly, i was impressed by the fact that prelibya forces have extended the deadline for gadhafi forces to surrender. of course, there have been reports of abuse on all sides, though frankly, the gadhafi war crimes put everything else into perspective. the libya forces have tried to integrate people who want to get up and reck nile. . >> thank you very much, mr.
speaker. i congratulate the prime minister on work to the prime minister and just to reiterate to him that constituents of mine actually fled libya and have been nothing but praise from benghazi and were very much in fear of their lives. could ask my friend to assure the house and country that it will continue to be the policy of this government that there will be no military action taking place anywhere in this world unless england gets there the u.n. or nato and can i ask him to bear that in mind when recent reports coming from the u.s. about reports in iran comes to the debate. >> i don't think i can entirely give that assurance. i think it's important that britain is able to act in self-defense. and sometimes, there isn't time to go to the u.n. or nato or whatever, so i can't believe in giving that sort of assurance,
but in this sort of issue, i believe it was right to go to the u.n. it was right to act with allies and bring together partners. >> this was already recognized a game changing rule and the title the fight played. could the officer join with me in joining the -- in nonuniform personnel in keeping the aircraft flying. >> i'm delighted to do that. to a nato performed and the typhoon as well and i think that is a tribute to the pilots, the ground stop, but also to those involved in building, manufacturing and maintaining this aircraft and i think touching the wood of the box as though have been very, very good performance of those airplanes and their crew. >> shahma.
>> could i also join in congratulating in libya. i can only say it's rather refreshing to have leads from the front. could i ask him, could he give us a few more details on the humanitarian aid is providing which is going to be incredibly important in the days, weeks and months ahead. >> i'm happy to do that. we have provided help through the iclc to provide medical zans to people, provided food for around 700,000 people. we're working with others to provide water as well. i think in terms of the humanitarian situation, we've always been ready to do more and the planning has been first class. the needs haven't always been as great as predicted because the libyans have responded themselves rapidly to deal with shortages and problems. >> jason mccartney.
>> it's clear lessons have been lea learned, but one of the key elements of this success has been the role of the arab league and particularly, the role played by nations like qatar with their special forces. will the problem implore the arab league to take strong action and condemn what's happening in syria? >> i think my old friend makes a good point and the arab league the going to damascus. it's been a great movement for the arab lead. the role the jordanians played made a lot of these things possible and we should reassess on what we can do, trading and working together because it's been very x r very successful on this occasion. >> mr. hammond. >> may i join those this praising the clarity of the prime minister's purpose. he's right to say this was a libyan uprising.
does he agree with me that one of the consequences is that personally, many more civilian lives would stay from being so and the fact that community were prepared to take a role shows to other countries that we will play an appropriate role. >> i think dictators all over the world would have taken note and what was happened and recognize that the long arm of international law could have as i put it earlier -- huge work was done trying to avoid civilian casualties and civilian infrastructure. i think the reason parts of l libya -- >> mr. julian brasilier. >> thank you, mr. speaker.
could i both congratulate the prime minister on this road charted. would he agreed that israel falling out with its old alley, turkey, shortly after the awful border problems with egypt are not making life any easier for the moderate voices in the arab league and those who want to move the region forward. >> i think my old friend is entirely right. we need to encourage israel to work with all his allies for a safe and secure feature. i think he's entirely right. >> mr. david morris. >> it's refreshing to see a prime minister leading from the front as my colleague said, but i'm very concerned about the investigation to ivan fletcher.
can i be assured that all avenues can be followed to bring the perpetrator of these crimes? >> i can certainly give my honorable friend that assurance and that's why i raised the case at the paris conference. i do think it's important that we enable, allow this government to get its feet under table before we press this case a huge amount further. but it is a police investigation and i would urge the police to do what they can to push the investigation forward and to work with the new authority. >> steven metcalfe. >> as my honorable friend will be aware and we've heard this afternoon, there are a number of businesses who have been seriously adversely affected by the conflict to libya leaving them with large, unpaid bills. will he agree to do all he can through whatever reasonable challenges there are to put pressure on the ntc, to pay those bills as soon as possible, protect british jobs and companies and work with the
business department in the future to put in place a system that will protect business if they do business in some of these more volatile countries. >> obviously, the government can't stand behind every contract and individual firm enters into anywhere in the world, but i completely understand why he feels strongly on behalf of his constituents. that is why we have embassies around the world and in tripoli, we'll have a new ambassador able to make progress on all these issues. >> mr. johnson. >> i agree with the prime minister that we shouldn't rush the judgment on some of these issues, but would he agree with me that it's at least questionable of the last government to send u.k. police officers to libya to train gadhafi's forces when those reasonable for wc fletcher's murder were still at large? >> i think my honorable friend makes an important point. i think it is right to form a
with libya when it gave up weapons of mass destruction, but we had to do it in the right way an i don't believe we made enough progress on the murder and the case was not handled in the right way. >> mr. henry smith. >> here. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. five years ago, the then governments conducted sums to visit headquarters. when it comes to the appeasing of dictatorship. >> i've got a feeling if they invited him again, they might treat him rather differently this time. what having a relationship wrong gullible, carried out for all the things that have been