British Foreign Secretary: UK won’t rule out British ground troops in Libya
Foreign secretary says he cannot rule any action out, but the question of military force would be put to MPs
British ground combat troops could go to Libya in the future, the foreign secretary has said.
Philip Hammond told the Sunday Telegraph he could not rule anything out as he did not know how the situation in the north African country would evolve.
But he insisted that the question of British ground, sea or air power taking action in Libya would be put to MPs.
Hammond said the southern Mediterranean was an important security interest as terrorists established there would be a threat to all of Europe, including the UK.
“It wouldn’t make sense to rule anything out,” he said, discussing the possibility of ground combat troops going to the country.
“But if there were ever any question of a British combat role in any form – ground, sea or air – that would go to the House of Commons.”
He also highlighted the closeness of Libya to the outer borders of Europe. He said it was 100 miles from Libya to the Italian island of Lampedusa, which is the first stop for many migrants when they arrive on the continent.
“If Daesh [Islamic State] became established in Libya and sought to use that established base to infiltrate terrorists into Europe, that would be a threat to all of us,” he said.
He said he knew that the new Libyan government would be cautious about requesting western military support but if it did, the UK government would consider it.
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