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Libya: Offical Visits

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what ministerial visits to Libya have taken place in the last two years; and what commercial matters were discussed during each such visit. (290819)

Two Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers visited Libya in 2008-09. My hon. Friend the Member for Harlow (Bill Rammell), the then Minister of State, visited Libya from 25-26 February 2009. He met with the Libyan Prime Minister, Dr al-Baghdadi al-Mahmudi, Energy Minister, Shurkri Ghanem, Europe Minister, Abdulatti Obidi and the then Head of the Libyan External Intelligence Service, Musa Kusa. During my hon. Friend’s visit discussions focused on a range of issues including the stalled investigation into WPC Fletcher's murder, regional security matters, counter terrorism co-operation, the African Union (AU), consular matters, visa arrangements and commercial contracts currently under negotiation.

My noble Friend, the then Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, also visited Libya for the AU Summit in July 2009. He did not have any formally arranged meetings with members of the Libyan Government. However, Lord Malloch-Brown met briefly with Ali Treiki, the then Libyan Minister for Africa and the UN, and Musa Kusa, the Libyan Minister for Foreign Affairs while attending the opening ceremony of the summit. No commercial matters were discussed.

There have also been visits to Libya by Ministers from other Government departments: my noble Friend the Minister of State at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, Lord Digby-Jones, in May 2008, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South (Dawn Primarolo), the Minister of State at the Department of Health, in November 2008, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (Andy Burnham), the Secretary of State at the Department of Health, in July 2009.