Press release: Foreign Secretary visits Libya: August 2017

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The government is stepping up efforts to deal with threats posed to the UK from Libya as the Foreign Secretary makes his second visit to the country in less than 6 months.

The Foreign Secretary has been in Tripoli today where he met with the Libyan Prime Minister, Fayyez Al-Serraj, to discuss what more the UK can do to support the Government of National Accord and the UN-led political process to help stabilise Libya.

British Ambassador Peter Millett explains the UK’s support for a stable and peaceful Libya


UK support for Libya

The Foreign Secretary also outlined a package of additional support to help Libya deal with the terrorist threat and to tackle illegal migration. This includes:

  • £3 million to remove improvised explosive devices from Sirte, following the success in pushing Daesh out of the city earlier this year
  • £1 million to fund demining training across Libya, including in Sirte and Benghazi
  • £1 million to help rebuild critical infrastructure and restore basic public services through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The UK has already contributed £1.5 million to the UNDP since 2016
  • £2.75 million to support women’s participation in peacemaking and rebuilding Libya
  • £1.29 million of new UK aid funding over the next 2 years to support displaced people with food, essential hygiene items and urgent healthcare needs

The government has also agreed to increase its engagement with the Libyan law enforcement authorities to tackle organised crime and trafficking, building on the work the UK is already doing with European partners to strengthen the ability of the Libyan Coastguard to secure its own borders in a manner which respects international law.

During his visit to Tripoli, the Foreign Secretary met with the Libyan Naval Coastguard to hear about their UK training. Delivered by the Royal Navy, training has focussed on activities such as search and rescue, boarding and inspecting vessels, human rights and the treatment of migrants.

Speaking from Tripoli, the Foreign Secretary said:


Libya is the front line for many challenges which left unchecked can pose problems for us in the UK – particularly illegal migration and the threat from terrorism.

That’s why it is so important that we work with the Libyan government and our partners to help bring stability to Libya, stopping it from becoming a fertile ground for terrorists, gun runners and people traffickers in close proximity to Europe.

This means supporting the new UN Representative and the political process, but it also means practical efforts too – including the new kit we are providing to make Sirte safer for Libyans and the work we are doing to ensure that the Libyan coastguard can secure their own borders, reducing the number of illegal migrants heading for Europe.

During his visit, the Foreign Secretary met with Libyan Prime Minister Fayyez Al-Serraj, Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala and the President of Libya’s High State Council Abdurrahman Swehli. Mr Johnson underlined the importance of Libya’s different political and social groups working together to overcome the current political conflict.

The meetings in Libya followed talks in Tunis on Tuesday evening with Ghassan Salamé, the new United Nations Special Representative on Libya. The UK believes the appointment of Mr Salamé presents an opportunity to break the political deadlock and build momentum towards amending the Libyan Political Agreement so that it delivers for all Libyans.

While in Tunis, the Foreign Secretary met with senior members of the Tunisian government, including Tourism Minister Salma Elloumi to discuss how we can strengthen security and economic ties between the UK and Tunisia, particularly following the recent decision to no longer advise against travel to most of the country.

The Foreign Secretary also visited the Bardo Museum, to pay respects those who died in the terrorist attack there in 2015.

After the visit, the Foreign Secretary said:


Tunisia has made great strides in its democratic transition since the revolution of 2011. I particularly applaud its promotion of women’s rights and gender equality, including the ground-breaking new law on violence against women.

Tunisian security improvements, supported in part through UK assistance, meant we could change our travel advice last month. The UK is a steadfast partner for Tunisia in building its prosperity and security, and combating terrorism, and I look forward to even stronger ties between us.
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