With hope and belief, the Libyan government organised a disarmament conference on Christmas Day 2011 at the Radisson hotel in Tripoli. The British Ambassador was in England, so I represented the UK Government and was greatly honoured to meet the last living member of the original 1951 Senate, who was one of 24 Libyans from the three provinces chosen to sit in the upper house of government.
I spoke to the receptive audience about our long friendship and recent partnership to liberate Libya from the brutal shackles of the previous regime and was followed on the stand by the renowned revolutionary leader, Abdelhakim Bel Haj. He was very grateful for Britain’s support and looked forward to working with the United Nations on the disarmament project, but unfortunately, this cordial relationship was paused when London issued instructions to forbid any further dialogue with him.
See chapter 16 of Liberating Libya for the story of Bel Haj’s subsequent legal challenge and the embarrassing admission of the UK government.