By George Grant.
Tripoli, 28 November:
The British Government will not seek to recoup the £200 million (400 million dinar) cost of last year’s intervention in Libya.
Over the course of Operation Ellamy – the codename for the UK operation – Britain deployed over 25 fighter aircraft, some four Apache helicopters, three frigates, a destroyer, two submarines, numerous surveillance aircraft and other support equipment.
Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Conservative MP David Ruffley called on British Defence Minister Andrew Murrison to be “unyielding in his demands of the oil-rich Libyan government to help cover the £200 million cost underwritten by the British taxpayer for the Libyan intervention”.
Ruffley pointed out that following the first Gulf War in 1990-91, the UK had recovered some £2 billion from Kuwait and other countries to help cover the cost of operations there.
“It is important to emphasise that Libya’s security is our security, and this was a mandated operation”, Murrison responded. “We will not seek to recover costs from Libya; that would not be the correct course of action. I look forward to Libya rejoining the international community of nations and to the UK and Libya proceeding on that basis”.
Together with France, the UK was one of the strongest supporters of the uprising that led to the ouster of Muammar Qaddafi. UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorised the international intervention for the purpose of protecting Libyan civilians, was co-drafted by the UK, France and Lebanon, and Britain was amongst the biggest contributors to the military action that followed.