| TRIPOLI, Sept 26
TRIPOLI, Sept 26 Britain's past business and
security dealings with Muammar Gaddafi's Libya are not expected
to affect bilateral trade following his ousting, the UK special
representative to the oil-producing country said on Monday.
Asked whether there was any residual awkwardness between
Britain and Libya's new interim rulers over years of links
between Gaddafi officials and British officials and businessmen,
John Jenkins said that he did not know but he suspected Libya
would be "pragmatic".
"Many people have had complicated relationships with the
former regime. I haven't detected any sign that it's going to be
a major obstacle to doing business," Jenkins, accompanied by
visiting Trade Minister Lord Green, told a news conference.
Referring to National Transitional Council (NTC) chairman
and de facto Libyan president Mustafa Abdel Jalil, Gaddafi's
former justice minister, Jenkins added: "We've all had
complicated relationships with Libya, as many countries have
had. Jalil himself has said there needs to be an accounting for
everyone, including him. I think there will be.
"But my sense is that they want to make a break with the
past. I think there'll be a pragmatic view of how Libya
reconstructs itself ... I think they will draw a distinction.
"I think people who can bring things to the new Libya will
Green, who led a delegation of executives from companies
including BP and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), said they
had met officials of the NTC including the ministers of
commerce, oil, planning and reconstruction, the deputy central
bank governor and the National Oil Company.
Jenkins said the authorities were not expected to take
"long-term strategic decisions" before the establishment of
constitutional government and elections.
Prime Minister David Cameron told parliament on Sept. 5
"significant accusations" had been made that relations between
the British and Libyan security services became too close under
the previous Labour government, in power for 13 years until
The military commander for Tripoli under Libya's provisional
government, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, a former Islamist guerrilla
opponent of Gaddafi's, was among suspected Libyan militants
captured and sent to Libya by the CIA, Human Rights Watch said.
Belhadj has demanded an apology from Britain for what he
said was its role in assisting the United States in transferring
him to Libya, where he says he was tortured.
Britain says the incident will be examined by an inquiry
into whether its security services knew about the torture of
terrorism suspects overseas.
A spokesman for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has
said he visited Gaddafi in Libya ahead of the release from a
Scottish prison of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, a Libyan who was
convicted of the 1988 bombing of a U.S.-bound airliner over
Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people.
But the spokesman insisted there was no impropriety in the
contacts. The Sunday Telegraph said it had found letters and
emails which showed Blair, who left office in 2007, had visited
Gaddafi in June 2008 and April 2009, once using the then Libyan
leader's jets and bringing along an American billionaire.
(Reporting by William Maclean; Editing by Robert Woodward)