David Cameron apologies for Libya evacuation fiasco

24th Feb 2011
David Cameron apologies for Libya evacuation fiasco

David Cameron has issued an apology to the British nationals stranded in Libya after his government’s slow reaction to the crisis left many still awaiting rescue.

His apology came as a handful of terrified families plucked from Tripoli described the country’s “descent into hell” after landing safely on British soil.

Foreign Secretary William Hague has ordered an investigation into the difficulties encountered in the repatriation.

The first flight chartered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was delayed on Wednesday by 12 hours due to a technical fault at Gatwick.

Others have since flown to Tripoli to continue to evacuation.


The investigation comes as European countries including France, Russia and Netherlands have already evacuated their citizens from the war torn nation.

Around 300 Britons are still believed to be in the capital Tripoli, and 170 more - mainly oil workers - are in remote desert camps.

Hague said: “Given today’s difficulties with reliably chartering private planes, I will establish a review, directly reporting to ministers, into the FCO’s longstanding arrangements for aircraft evacuations. We need to know whether today was a coincidental series of unavoidable setbacks, or a systemic flaw.”
The first plane, a BP charter plane, was carrying 120 passengers.

The plane that the Government had intended to use sat on the runway at Gatwick for 12 hours. An RAF Hercules C130 aircraft has since arrived from Malta. Meanwhile, a British Special Forces plane has been put on standby if needed.

The British Red Cross has deployed a team of volunteers to Gatwick airport to provide support to Britons being evacuated.

Meanwhile amid criticisms, David Cameron was “very active overnight” and according to reports as there was “no higher priority” for the premier than getting the around 550 Britons out of the country.



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