I met Mahmoud Jabril, head of the national transitional council’s executive committee, at the Libya contact group meeting in Istanbul on Friday, and spoke with him by phone on Tuesday. We discussed a wide range of issues, but with a particular focus on the national transitional council’s plans for Libya’s stabilisation post-Gaddafi.
I thank the Secretary of State for that response. How sure is he that the regime that takes over from Gaddafi will be better than the one that exists now? What action would he take if Gaddafi was removed and a regime came in that was worse than the one that we have now?
The hon. Gentleman has left the House trying to imagine a regime worse than the Gaddafi regime over the last 42 years. I suppose that it is theoretically possible, but on the basis of my visit to Benghazi and meeting the people there, who have an inspiring commitment to freedom and a better future for their country, I can tell him that huge numbers of Libyans are going through what they are going through now in order to have a dramatically better situation. The commitment to democratic principles of the leaders of the national transitional council is genuine. Their commitment to forming an interim government after the departure of Gaddafi, including technocratic members of the current regime, is also genuine. So when Gaddafi departs, there is every prospect of a better future for Libya.
Given what the Foreign Secretary has said and the fact that the French are now dropping arms to the Liberal rebels—[ Laughter. ] I mean Libyan rebels. Is it not a fact that we are now taking sides in a civil war rather than trying to enforce UN resolution 1970?
Thankfully our coalition is more robust than requiring arms drops to our right hon. and hon. Friends.
I would not characterise the situation in the way that my hon. Friend does. We are enforcing the UN Security Council resolution. If we were not undertaking the military action that we are, the Gaddafi regime would be able to harass and murder large numbers of the people of Libya. That is also why France is taking the action that it is taking. Our military action is devoted to enforcing the resolutions. A political settlement in Libya also requires the departure of Gaddafi, because the people who are fighting for their freedom and some democracy in Libya cannot reach such a settlement while he remains in place.