By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 30 May 2017:
The British ambassador to Libya Peter Millett has angrily rejected claims by the Beida-based government that the UK has allowed groups such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and Muslim Brotherhood to prosper within its borders.
The Beida government said last week’s Manchester bombing was a result of terrorist groups who have been allowed to operate in the UK for decades. They said the father of the Manchester bomber had been provided a “safe haven” in which to live. Many anti-Qaddafi Islamists fled to the UK in the 1990’s after a number of failed coups.
It also alleged that British governments along with other envoys to Libya had “insisted” the LIFG and Muslim Brotherhood have a part in the UN-backed Libyan government.
Millett said: “We strongly deny the unfounded accusations of individuals from a former government in Libya – the so-called ‘Interim Government’”.
On the UK allowing Islamists to take a role in Libya’s government, Millett said “We also refute the accusations that we insist on certain groups sharing power in Libya: we do not support any such group; Libya’s political future is up to Libyans alone”.
He also pointed to “robust” efforts by Britain that sought to tackle extremist groups within its borders.
In what appears to be a clear reference to the House of Representatives (HoR) president Ageela Saleh, who is accused of delaying political progress, Millett said “those who continue to reject dialogue are preventing effective governance in Libya”.
The HoR-appointed Beida administration, describing itself as the “legitimate government,” accused Britain of “deliberately” supporting the “terrorist militias” that the Libyan National Army and Khalifa Hafter were fighting.
Yet, Millett insisted the UK “remains steadfast in its support for the Libyan people as they strive to defeat terrorism across Libya”.