Excellencies, distinguished guests and colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you all for taking part in our Queen’s birthday party tonight – our first in Tripoli for eight years. And a special thank you to our sponsors: UK Solar Power, Velichor Risk, A1 Security Print, BACB and Petrofac.
We are gathered today to celebrate a historic event. On February 6, 2022, Her Majesty The Queen became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking seventy years of service to the people of the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth. His remarkable reign began in 1952, just one year and two months after the formation of the United Kingdom of Libya.
Since then, she has made more than 260 official visits abroad. Her second state visit was to Tobruk, where she met King Idris, who entrusted her with the Order of Idris I. Truly, throughout her reign, the Queen has testified to the dynamic and enduring relationship between our two countries.
The relationship is deep and lasting. Our armed forces fought together – in World War II and most recently against Daesh in Sirte. Since 2000, 166 Libyans have won Chevening scholarships to study in the UK. Our cultural ties are strong and continue to grow.
It’s the past. In the present, it is my job – our job – to strengthen bilateral relations between the UK and Libya, and to support the Libyan people.
That is why I am delighted to announce tonight that the UK is today officially reopening our British Embassy here in Libya.
Although the embassy is based in Tripoli, it is a demonstration of our commitment to the whole of Libya. I am proud that our work is already touching the lives of Libyans across the country. For instance:
- Training of law enforcement agencies in Benghazi, Sabha, Misrata and Tripoli;
- Mine action projects in Sirte;
- Helping English teachers in Libya through the British Council,
- Peacebuilding programs in Ajdibaya, Tobruk and Zliten; and
- Our support for the High National Electoral Commission throughout the country.
I am particularly proud that British companies are working with Libyan companies and having a significant impact on Libya’s economic development. Many of these companies are represented here tonight, including UK Solar Power represented by Serag Elalam, which is leading the charge to increase solar power in Libya.
But I want to acknowledge that many friends and colleagues from across the country cannot be here with us tonight, due to the political and security challenges facing Libya. I ask you to keep our absent friends from all over Libya in your thoughts tonight.
If Libya is to realize its political and economic potential, Libyan leaders must continue to implement the October ceasefire agreement, work together and seek compromise, cooperation and concord.
The Libyan people deserve it.
The Queen is our best example of such leadership. Throughout her 70-year reign, the Queen has dedicated her life to public service, transcended politics and geography, and been a source of continuity and strength.
So please would you all raise a glass to Her Majesty The Queen on her Platinum Jubilee. Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen. The Queen.
And now I am delighted to officially reopen the British Embassy in Libya thanks to the raising of our Union Flag.