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House of Lords written question – answered on 6th April 2011.

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Photo of Lord Hoyle Lord Hoyle Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the political beliefs, aims and ambitions for the future of Libya of the rebels to whom they are offering support.

Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy)

Our dialogue with the Interim National Council (INC) and other elements of the opposition both within Libya and outside the country continues to develop. My right honourable friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary met Mahmoud Jabril, the envoy of the INC, on 29 March 2011. A British diplomatic mission also visited Benghazi on 28 and 29 March 2011, headed by a senior British diplomat, Christopher Prentice. The purpose of the mission was to meet key Libyan opposition groups in eastern Libya, including the INC and its military council; to gain a greater insight into the political and security situation; to explain government policies towards Libya; and to discuss future governance arrangements in Libya, including identifying what Britain can do to help. The team met the president of the INC, Mustafa al-Jalil, among others. We support the efforts of the council to prepare for a more democratic and accountable Government in Libya.

We have made clear the importance of the Libyan opposition ensuring that they are not infiltrated by al-Qaeda or other extremist elements. They are very conscious of this. It is clear from our engagement with the INC that it is sincere in its wish for an inclusive, democratic Libya which rejects extremism, as shown by its manifesto and public statements rejecting extremist ideas and committing to combating them in all circumstances and to implementing UN Security Council Resolutions on counter-terrorism.

The conference on Libya held in London on 29 March 2011 agreed the need for a political process, led by the Libyan people, that helps to create the conditions in which the people of Libya can choose their own future, supported by the international community. The announcement of a political programme by the INC was an important first step in that process. The participants in the conference were agreed that the Gaddafi regime had lost all legitimacy, and that the Libyan people have clearly indicated their desire for change.

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