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Peter Millett

Ambassador to Libya, Tripoli

Part of UK in Libya

11th July 2016 Tripoli, Libya

Getting To Know Libya

Since the Presidency Council arrived in Tripoli, I have had the pleasure of visiting the city five times.  The most recent visit was during Ramadan.

The first impression was the welcome I received and the friendliness of the people.  From my arrival at Matiga to the staff in the offices, there was a warm welcome and a genuine interest in the role we can play in supporting the Government of National Accord.

I was also able to see for myself the very difficult living conditions for the Libyan people.  I saw the queues outside the banks: people waiting in the hope that they could access their cash.  I saw the buildings that had not been rebuilt or repaired since the revolution.  And I saw the rubbish in the streets, littering the seafront, Martyrs Square and the streets.

The Libyan people deserve better.  The revolution was a massive movement that mobilised the people against a hated dictator.  The young fighters who confronted the well-armed forces loyal to Qadhafi were incredibly brave.  They risked their lives for the greater good of all Libyans.

The aftermath of any major shift in power always raises expectations.  Revolutions all round the world have usually removed a bad regime for someone who promised a better life.  Most cases have resulted in disappointment.  Indeed, almost any process of change will suffer setbacks.

Change takes time.  It takes commitment, dedication, courage and resilience.  It is unlikely to be comfortable or pleasant and probably requires sacrifices.  Yet progress is impossible without change.  At the end of the day, it will be worth it.

When I meet Libyans, I can see their enthusiasm and desire for change.  And I can see the potential they have to make their country a better place.  They bring precisely the commitment, dedication and courage that are needed.

An example is the many young Libyans who were interviewed for post-graduate studies in the United Kingdom this coming academic year.  The quality of the candidates was high and selecting the ones who were successful was difficult.  I look forward to meeting them before they go.

This human potential can be matched with the economic wealth of the country.  Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa and a relatively small population: the ratio of wealth per head must be one of the highest in the world. This wealth belongs to all Libyans and the revenue that it brings must be used to bring benefits to all parts of the country.

That means carrying out urgently needed programmes and projects to improve the living conditions of Libyans in the east, south and west. Things that will make a difference quickly: getting the electricity working all day and night, rebuilding damaged schools and hospitals and clearing the rubbish from the streets.

We are keen to help bring these benefits to Libya.  We took action to protect Libyan civilians in 2011; we want now to help those people finish the job of change.  We want the same benefits as the Libyans: peace, security and prosperity.

I strongly believe that this Government of National Accord has the ability and will to achieve this aim.  Many Libyans might disagree and challenge the agreement that brought them into place.  But it was the result of dialogue between Libyans and was endorsed by the UN Security Council.

We hope that the House of Representatives will give them a formal vote of confidence.  But meanwhile, the needs of the Libyan people are too urgent to wait.  Politics inevitably generates disagreement, but ultimately a pragmatic approach is required.

I look forward to visiting Tripoli again soon.  But I also want to meet more Libyans in all parts of the country: East and South and other parts of the West.

About Peter Millett

Peter arrived in Tunis on 23 June 2015 to take up his post as Ambassador to Libya. Previously he was British Ambassador to Jordan from February 2011 to June 2015. He was High Commissioner to…

Peter arrived in Tunis on 23 June 2015 to take up his post as
Ambassador to Libya.
Previously he was British Ambassador to Jordan from February 2011 to June 2015.
He was High Commissioner to Cyprus from 2005 – 2010.
He was Director of Security in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
from 2002-2005, dealing with all aspects of security for British
diplomatic missions overseas.
From 1997-2001 he served as Deputy Head of Mission in Athens.
From 1993-96 Mr Millett was Head of Personnel Policy in the FCO.
From 1989-93 he held the post of First Secretary (Energy) in the UK
Representative Office to the European Union in Brussels, representing
the UK on all energy and nuclear issues.
From 1981-1985 he served as Second Secretary (Political) in Doha.
Peter was born in 1955 in London.  He is married to June Millett and
has three daughters, born in 1984, 1987 and 1991.  
His interests include his family, tennis and travel.