The arrival of the Libyan delegation took place in wake of the release
by Scotland of the Libyan sentenced to life in prison for the bombing of a
U.S. passenger jet over Lockerbie in 1988. The Scottish release was said to
have prompted an improvement in relations between London and Tripoli.
The British Defense Ministry has confirmed the arrival of the Libyan
defense delegation. The ministry did not provide details.
Officials acknowledged an emerging defense relationship between Britain
and Libya. Government data reported British export of $29 million in defense
products to Libya in 2008 and the approval of licenses of about $15 million
during the first three months of 2009.
"Surely the least we should demand is to stop UK arms companies from
trading with this rich and dangerous country," Kaye Stearman, spokeswoman
for the Campaign Against Arms Trade, said.
Officials said Tripoli has expressed interest in border security,
communications, radars and aircraft. They said France and Italy were
regarded as the leading competitors of Britain for defense projects in
British defense executives also plan to brief the Libyan government of
advanced weapons and technology. The British Defence Ministry has also been
organizing a delegation to visit the Libyan Aviation Exhibition in Tripoli
in October 2009.
"While the U.K.-Libya relationship does indeed include trade, bilateral
cooperation is now wide-ranging on many levels, particularly in the fight
against terrorism," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said.