The United Kingdom should ask Libya to repay the £300m cost of British intervention in the country, following the death of Colonel Gaddafi, a leading Tory MP has said. Chairman of the House of Commons all-party group for Libya Daniel Kawczynski insisted that the UK's contribution to the removal of the Gaddafi regime was "immense", and was conducted despite difficult economic conditions at home.
In parliament, earlier this month, it was revealed the cost of Operation Ellamy had risen to £300m and independent analysis has said it could be as high as £1.75bn. Writing for sister site publicservice.co.uk
, Kawczynski said that the concept of countries repaying outsiders for military intervention was "not without precedent", adding: "Following the liberation of Kuwait in the first Gulf War, the British government received more than £2bn from other nations to cover operational costs – with a significant contribution by Kuwait herself.
"Furthermore, Libya is clearly not a country without means. We should not forget that in helping to free the people of Libya from oppression, we have also helped free an economy rich in natural resources that exported over $34bn worth of oil products in 2009 and had a GDP estimated at more than $85bn. In the past, freedom has been paid for with blood and gold. The timely intervention by our government and the international community saved many innocent lives, but the action came at a cost, and this cost has been born by the hard pressed British taxpayer. In these difficult economic times, it should not be too much to ask a country with Libya's wealth and resources to pay their share of the gold."
Some 2,300 British military personnel were deployed at the peak of Operation Ellamy, along with 22 fast jets - which conducted 3,000 sorties, including a fifth of all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation airstrikes. Eight warships attacked targets on shore as well as enforcing the UN arms embargo and securing the delivery of aid.Daniel Kawczyinski's full comments appear on PublicServiceEurope.com's sisters title publicservice.co.uk Time for Libya to repay the British taxpayer?
Any direct attempt to realise the costs of Op Ellamy will backfire right in the face of the UK government. Neither will a British MP's comment that British oil company officials have to pack and rush off to Libya help. Now that the military challenge has subsided, it falls to UK diplomats to gracefully extricate the costs of Op Ellamy from Libya.
Statements like those I've indicated above do not help a cash-strapped nation facing increasing internal dissent and international challenges. This could well be a big break for the UK. But it hinges on how gracefully they persuade Libya to foot the Op Ellamy bill.
Aritra - India