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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Britain’s Boris Johnson claims Libya’s Sirte could be the next Dubai once it ‘clears the dead bodies away’

Fellow Conservative party politicians have called for the foreign secretary to be sacked over his comments about the Libyan city

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson claimed Sirte, where Muammar Gadaffi was killed, could be the next Dubai, once the bodies of dead people had been cleared away. Phil Noble/ Reuters
Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson claimed Sirte, where Muammar Gadaffi was killed, could be the next Dubai, once the bodies of dead people had been cleared away. Phil Noble/ Reuters

Britain’s Boris Johnson is facing calls to leave from his position as foreign secretary after he claimed that a city in Libya, which was liberated from ISIL last year, could be the next Dubai once the dead bodies had been cleared away.

Mr Johnson, who was speaking at the Conservative party conference on Tuesday, made the comment about Sirte’s potential as a tourism hub, the city where Muammar Gaddafi died, in response to a question about his visits to Libya.

“There’s a group of UK business people, wonderful guys who want to invest in Sirte, on the coast, near where Gaddafi was actually captured and executed as some of you may have seen,” he said.

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“And they literally have a brilliant vision to turn Sirte, with the help of the municipality of Sirte, to turn it into the next Dubai.

“The only thing they’ve got to do is clear the dead bodies away and then they’ll be there.”

Mr Johnson, who has already made headlines this week for appearing to undermine the Prime Minister Theresa May on her plans for Brexit, was criticised from within his own political comment for his choice of words.

Conservative Member of Parliament Anna Soubry described her colleague as “embarrassing” and repeated calls for the prime minister to sack him.

While Heidi Allen MP said the comment was “100% unacceptable from anyone” let alone the foreign secretary.

Mr Johnson, however, accused those criticising him of not comprehending the situation in Libya in a series of tweets late on Tuesday night.

“Shame people with no knowledge or understanding of Libya want to play politics with the appallingly dangerous reality in Sirte,” he wrote on Twitter.

“The reality there is that the clearing of corpses of Daesh fighters has been made much more difficult by IEDs and booby traps. That's why Britain is playing a key role in reconstruction and why I have visited Libya twice this year in support.”