By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 6 March 2017:
A British political delegation had discussions with Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter in Marj today before heading to Tobruk to meet House of Representatives’ (HoR) president Ageela Saleh and other HoR members. The delegation, which flew to Labraq last night, was led by Conservative MP Kwasi Kwarteng, with the Director of the Conservative Middle East Council, Leo Docherty, also in attendance.
Although comprising members of the UK’s ruling Conservative Party, it was not an official British government group, and fears are being expressed by some British officials that their intervention could complicate matters, with Hafter, Saleh and the HoR seeing it as a new endorsement by London.
Two other Conservative MPs had been scheduled to join with Kwarteng but pulled out at the last minute, possibly because of pressure from the Foreign Office.
A HoR statement said the two sides looked at how they could enhance cooperation in the fight against terrorism. It was also claimed that Kwarteng had said they had discussed how Britain could support the HoR in order to strengthen relations between the countries and improve security conditions in Libya.
Following his meeting with Ageela Sakeh, the Conservative MP who represents the area south of London’s Heathrow Airport, met with members of the HoR from across Libya. Describing it as a “very positive meeting”, HoR member for Rajban, Salah Bilhoug said that it had laid the ground for a more positive interaction between Libya and the UK “built on mutual respect and beneficial towards the people of both countries”.
Bilhoug also said that Kwarteng and the rest of the group had expressed their “admiration” at the stability and calm in those areas under the LNA’s control.