By Sami Zaptia.
London, 14 June 2018:
Libya’s High State Council (HSC) expressed its ‘‘grave concern’’ over Britain’s plan to use frozen Libyan assets in the UK to compensate victims of the IRA terror campaign.
The IRA had been engaged in a conflict with the British authorities in Northern Ireland from the late 1960’s until 1998 and it was supplied with weapons by the Qaddafi regime.
The HSC statement follows a statement two days ago by the Faiez Serraj-led Presidency Council in which it expressed its strong opposition to such a move.
In its statement released yesterday, the HSC said that it ‘‘expressed grave concerns about the UK House of Commons vote to use proceeds from frozen assets to compensate victims of IRA terror attacks.
The HSC is acutely aware of how serious these atrocities were and sympathizes with the victims of these attacks.
The issue however has been previously addressed between Libya and the UK, and this measure was never part of any agreement.
The current status of Libya’s frozen assets is a matter of established international law. The assets are frozen by an international resolution under Chapter 7, which is binding to all countries, including the UK.
Any unilateral move, such as that by the UK House of Commons vote, is a violation of international law and the Libyan sovereignty. It would severely damage the Libyan economy and harm the people of Libya.
Libya is currently going through a challenging phase, both politically and economically. The international community, including the UK, is assisting Libya through this challenging phase.
As such, the HSC calls upon the Presidency Council to follow-up and monitor the developments of this issue and take all legal measures to protect Libya’s assets.
We also ask the UK House of Commons to reconsider its position and respect the UN Security Council’s resolution 1973 (8 March 2011) to freeze Libya’s assets and meet its obligations to the UN Security Council and the UN Sanctions Committee to protect Libya’s assets abroad.
Relations between both Libya and the UK have improved greatly in recent years, with bilateral trade and investment improving, as well as strengthening diplomatic ties. This is welcomed by the HSC’’.