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The post-conflict stabilisation and peace-building effort in Libya will be an international effort, co-ordinated by the United Nations in support of the Libyan people. The UK has undertaken early, cross-Whitehall planning, supported by the stabilisation unit, focusing on how we can support the international effort. Staff have been deployed to the region to provide stabilisation expertise on Libya and Arab partnership programmes.
We must learn the lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan, where in my experience we sometimes contributed what we were able to deliver rather than what was needed. What conversations is the Secretary of State having with Cabinet colleagues to ensure that should Britain make a contribution to post-conflict reconstruction in Libya, it is as effective as possible?
We are certainly having those conversations, and the hon. Gentleman is quite right to say that there are lessons to be learned from previous situations, including Iraq. The National Security Council is already working well on the matter, and of course my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development plays a very strong role on the subject. We are working with the UN already, and the UN is making good progress with stabilisation planning, but of course it is constrained in what it can physically do on the ground by the absence of peace and a political settlement in Libya. However, the planning is taking place and the UK is playing an important supporting role.
Will my right hon. Friend confirm that the best first step towards the reconstruction of the country would be peace and a ceasefire? Will he therefore assure the House that all his efforts are pointed in that direction rather than just at regime change?
Our efforts are devoted to implementing UN resolution 1973, which begins by calling for a ceasefire and an end to violence. Of course, that means a genuine ceasefire in which the regime not only really does cease fire but pulls back its forces from the areas where it is attacking the civilian population. It is in the search for that ceasefire and the protection of the civilian population that we are doing what we are doing in Libya.
Have any companies been approached or approached the Government in connection with any post-conflict reconstruction that might happen in Libya?
As I said, the UN is leading on the matter, and it will spearhead the reconstruction effort. The Department for International Development is handling the details of the British contribution and support, but if we have more information about companies’ involvement, I will write to the hon. Gentleman about it.