Cameron called to explain Libya policy to MPs

17th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

Prime Minister David Cameron was called Thursday to appear before lawmakers investigating Britain's role in Libya, in an unusual move that follows US criticism of his role in the 2011 intervention and speculation over a new deployment.

The chairman of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, Crispin Blunt, said he made the invitation "in a spirit of courtesy, fairness and genuine inquiry".

Cameron appears before the liaison committee, a special gathering of parliamentary committee chairs, twice a year but rarely appears in person before other committees.

The move comes after US President Barack Obama appeared to criticise Cameron and former French leader Nicolas Sarkozy for losing interest after their joint bombing campaign that led to the fall of Libyan leader Moamer Khadafi in 2011.

This week, the defence ministry was also forced to deny that it was planning to extend its bombing campaign against the Islamic State group to Libya, or to send troops to bolster security in the north African country.

The committee had raised the prospect of the intervention following a trip to Egypt and Tunisia, saying it had heard of British plans to contribute 1,000 ground troops to a 6,000-strong international force to Libya in the near future.

"Given your key role in the development of international policy before, during and after the 2011 intervention -- a role which is continuing now with the formation of the government of national accord -- the committee believes it is only appropriate to extend this invitation to you in a spirit of courtesy, fairness and genuine inquiry," Blunt wrote to the prime minister.

Cameron is not forced to give evidence but by convention he should agree. Blunt, a member of Cameron's Conservative party, said he hoped the appearance could be arranged before the end of the parliamentary session in early May.

© 2016 AFP

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