TRIPOLI: British Prime Minister David Cameron made a surprise visit to Tripoli yesterday for security talks just days after his government, which played a key role in Libya’s revolution, warned of threats to its nationals.
He flew to Tripoli from Algeria and was welcomed amid tight security. “I will never forget the scenes I saw in Tripoli and (the eastern city of) Benghazi,” Cameron said of the 2011 revolution that toppled long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
“The British people want to stand with you and help you deliver the greater security that Libya needs,” a statement from the prime minister’s office said. “So we have offered training and support from our police and our military. We look forward to working together in the years ahead.”
Speaking to reporters, Cameron said British police investigating the 1988 bombing of a passenger jet over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, which killed 270 people, would visit Libya.
“I am delighted that the Dumfries and Galloway police team will be able to visit your country to look into the issues around the Lockerbie bombing,” he told a joint news conference with his Libyan counterpart Ali Zeidan. Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet Al Megrahi, the only person convicted of the bombing, died of cancer last May, almost three years after the Scottish government freed him from jail on compassionate grounds.
Cameron also said police investigating the murder of policewoman Yvonne Fletcher, killed outside the Libyan embassy in London in 1984, had been able to come to Tripoli three times since the 2011 revolution.
He said that would have been “unthinkable” before Gaddafi was toppled and killed in 2011. “We are your friends. We are your supporters. We want to work with you, to stand with you (to) build a safe, secure and prosperous democracy here in Libya,” he said.
Downing Street said Cameron “agreed a new package of support with a focus on military, police and border security advisers” during the visit. “In addition to training being provided in Libya, a group of Libyan sailors are to be given the opportunity to train in the UK with the Royal Navy.”
“British expertise will also help the first freely elected government in Libya for 40 years to cement democracy ... The UK will provide a justice adviser (and) training for domestic electoral observers,” it added.