News Column

Britain's Cameron Arrives in Libya

Jan. 31, 2013

British Prime Minister David Cameron made a surprise visit to Tripoli on Thursday, a week after Britain warned of an imminent threat to Westerners in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi.

Cameron's plane landed at Tripoli airport where he was received by the head of Libya's Protocols Department and the British embassy staff, reported the state news agency LANA.

The agency did not say which officials Cameron would meet during his short visit.

Cameron, on his second visit to Libya since the ouster of Moamer Gaddafi in 2011, renewed Thursday his backing for the country's new rulers.

"In building a new Libya, you will have no greater friend than the United Kingdom. We will stand with you every step of the way," he told cadets at a police training facility near Tripoli.

Britain took a major part in the NATO-led campaign to back former rebels and opposition leaders who are now in power in Libya.

Cameron visited Algeria on Wednesday, pledging closer security cooperation after the death of 37 foreign workers, including six Britons, in a hostage-taking by Islamist militants at a gas facility.

Britain has warned its citizens against travelling to most parts of Libya since September, after an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi killed ambassador Christopher Stevens and three embassy staff.

Last week it urged Britons to leave Benghazi, citing a "specific and imminent threat" to Westerners.

The Foreign Office said that France's military intervention against Islamist rebels in Mali had heightened the possibility of attacks against Westerners in North Africa.

Libya has struggled to control its porous borders - which span thousands of kilometres of desert.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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