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MPs have demanded the Government explain plans to send 1,000 British troops to Libya after claiming the Ministry of Defence was due to agree a mission against Islamic State this week.
The Commons foreign affairs committee said it had been told on a recent trip to North Africa that the Government was due to finalise plans to commit troops to an Italian-led training mission to sure up the divided nation against Islamic State militants.
The Ministry of Defence on Tuesday night denied any decision had been made or any agreement had been reached, but sources said an international deployment “appeared to be getting closer”.
Commanders have been drawing up plans to send 1,000 troops to join an Italian-led mission to train and advise Libyan security forces, but ministers have said they will not commit troops while the country is still split between two competing governments. The troops will not fight, ministers have said.
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In a letter to Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, committee chairman Crispin Blunt wrote that it had been told the international force would train the Libyan army and provide security for the government.
"It appears the Defence Secretary will agree the UK contribution to this force at a European conference this week," he wrote.
"The pre-emptive deployment of UK military forces is now a matter for the House of Commons.
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"I therefore request that you make a statement to the House on the state of the plan for any deployment of UK military forces in Libya before the Defence Secretary agrees the UK component of any international force and explain how this deployment is consistent with our policy objectives."Yesterday's heroes: some of Libya's revolutionary militias now need reining in
A national unity government formed with UN backing is still opposed by hardliners from the competing parliaments: the eastern HOR and the rival General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli.
An MoD spokeswoman said: “No decision has been made.”
A Government spokesperson said: "What members of the Foreign Affairs Committee heard on their recent visit is wrong on a number of counts. There are no plans to extend airstrikes to Libya nor are there plans to send British troops to provide security on the ground in Libya. It is therefore also wrong to suggest the Defence Secretary will agree any UK contribution this week."
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تاريخ التسجيل : 08/04/2011
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