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House of Commons Hansard
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Post-conflict Security (Libya)
04 July 2011
Volume 530
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2. What role he expects his Department to play in establishing post-conflict security in Libya. [63133]

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We are in discussions with Whitehall colleagues, international organisations and allies regarding a post-conflict solution in Libya. It is too early to speculate on what might be required and who might be involved.

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Can the House be assured that the plan for peace in Libya will be as robust as the plan for war? Is the Secretary of State absolutely certain that we will not underestimate the size of the task in the way that pretty well everybody did in the case of both Iraq and Afghanistan?

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The hon. Gentleman asks a key question. How the transition occurs is of key importance. If there is some political settlement and an orderly handover to a new authority in Libya, the chances of maintaining order are much greater. We are working towards that with the contact group and others, and it makes sense for NATO and the United Nations to plan for all eventualities when we see the back of Colonel Gaddafi, as we all hope will soon happen.

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I am sure the Secretary of State will join me in paying tribute to the work of the stabilisation unit on post-conflict security in Libya. Given the restrictions of the existing United Nations resolution, does he feel that a further UN resolution might be required to carry out that work?

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It will depend on the situation on the ground and how benign the environment is. At the moment we do not envisage the need for another UN resolution, and we believe that the orderly handover to the UN and a new Libyan authority should be possible without one. Of course, that is constantly kept under review by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary.

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Although it is understandable that the Secretary of State might be a little reticent, it is worrying that he says it is too early for planning. The situation in Libya could go on for some time yet, but equally the forces of the uprising could be in Tripoli at any time. Is he seriously suggesting that we still have to wait to plan for the conflict’s aftermath? I do not think it is going to be like what happened in Tunisia—it will be a lot more difficult than that, and somebody will have to provide some support.

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A great deal of planning, looking at a range of scenarios, is being undertaken by the National Security Council and across Whitehall Departments, and a range of important discussions are being held with our allies, not least at the large gathering of military leaders in London last week. We could well see the collapse of the Libyan regime over a short period, but it could take some considerable time yet. I am afraid that I think it is unlikely that the opposition forces will enter Tripoli in the near future.