Libyan NTC 'stained' by Kadhafi killing: Britain

23rd October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's new Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said Sunday that the reputation of Libya's new leaders had been "stained" by the killing of ousted dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Hammond urged an investigation into the death of Kadhafi, who was captured alive during the fall of his hometown Sirte on Thursday.

"It's certainly not the way we do things, it's not the way we would have liked it to have happened," he told BBC television.

"We would have liked to see Colonel Kadhafi going on trial, ideally at the International Criminal Court, to answer for his misdeeds not only in Libya but of course the many acts of terrorism that he supported and perpetrated outside Libya, of which we in Britain have a disproportionately large number of victims.

"The fledgling Libyan government will understand that its reputation in the international community is a little bit stained by what happened.

"I'm sure that it will want to get to the bottom of it in a way that rebuilds and cleanses that reputation."

Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) has said that an interim government would be formed within one month of the declaration that the conflict is over, followed within eight months by elections for a constituent assembly.

The uprising against Kadhafi began in February and was backed later by a NATO air war, in which Britain and France played the leading roles.

Hammond welcomed the announcement on Libya's first free elections in 42 years and said a new government would have to take into account all sides in the north African country.

"We've intervened in the way that we did under the UN resolution to protect Libyan civilians while they freed themselves from the tyranny of Kadhafi," Hammond said.

"They now have to work out how to take Libya forward, what their future is.

"The announcement of elections within eight months is a very good first step forward but it's for the Libyan people now to work out how to form the coalition of interests that will be necessary if this is going to be a stable and prosperous country in the future."

Hammond said that while Britain would help in reconstruction efforts, Tripoli should be looking to Libya's own resources to fund it.

Britain's future role in Libya will "certainly mean a commitment to help them with their reconstruction effort, but let's be clear: Libya is potentially a rich country. It's an oil-producing country," he said.

"The military campaign ... has carefully avoided major damage to the infrastructure.

"So the number one priority will be to get Libya back on its feet so that it can generate the wealth that will enable it to deliver reconstruction from its own resources. That has to be the choice of direction."

Former transport secretary Hammond took over the defence brief on October 14 after Liam Fox resigned after it emerged that his best man Adam Werritty posed as a government adviser and took foreign trips with the minister.

© 2011 AFP

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