British Foreign Secretary William Hague met Mustafa Abdel Jalil, interim head of Libya’s National Transitional Council, in Tripoli on Monday. Hague was in Libya to celebrate the reopening of the British Embassy in Tripoli, which was closed in February following attacks. Although officially reopened, the embassy will remain out of operation for up to two years until repairs are completed.
Mr Hague proclaimed that the embassy reopening marked a watershed in relations between the two countries. The BBC
reported he said
"This is further recognition of the great progress the National Transitional Council has made in stabilising Libya and re-establishing the country's role as a full member of the international community.”
He went on to say
“The Libyan people's decisive break with the past means we are now able to open a new era in UK-Libya relations, building on our military, political, diplomatic and humanitarian support to the Libyan people during their revolution.”
The decisive break which Hague spoke of has not yet materialized as the NTC does not consider the conflict over until Sirte has been seized from pro-Gaddafi supporters. Fighting continues in Sirte and in Bani Waldi, whilst Col. Gaddafi remains at large despite the large price tag hovering over his head.
According to the Telegraph
the foreign secretary pledged more British money to Libya. He promised a further £20 million ($32 million) for Libya’s stabilization fund and another £20 million towards political and economic reform. Last week the NTC made it clear that funds given to NTC fighting groups which did not pass through the NTC were illegal, after allegations
were made that Tripoli’s military commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj was receiving illicit funds and weapons from Qatar.
Additionally Mr Hague offered the NTC UK experts on policing civil society. Residents of Tripoli have made repeated requests for armed militia men to be replaced with a civil police force. Tensions are running high in the city following a weekend of disturbances when pro-Gaddafi supporters had to be suppressed by militia in Tripoli, demonstrating that there is still a sector amidst Libyan society that would welcome the return of Gaddafi.