London, Asharq Al-Awsat –Libyan ambassador Mahmoud Nacua formally presented his credentials to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom yesterday, officially taking up his position as Libya’s new ambassador to the UK. He is the first Libyan ambassador to the UK since the ouster of the Gaddafi regime. Nacua had served as Libyan National Transitional Council [NTC] representative to Britain since August 2011.
Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat following the ceremony, the new Libyan ambassador to the UK stressed that he will seek to develop relations between Tripoli and London in various fields and seek to change the image and reputation of Libya’s London embassy. Nacua described this embassy, during the Gaddafi era, as being a “den of assassination and terrorism for Britain and Europe.”
He added “we want to change the image of the embassy to be a front for genuine relations in the fields of diplomacy, trade, health care and education.”
The new Libyan ambassador to the UK also revealed that he had spoken with the British monarch about historic Libyan – UK relations and how to develop these, adding that British officials – including Prime Minister David Cameron – had promised to facilitate his diplomatic missions and support Libya in numerous fields. Ambassador Mahmoud Nacua also praised the position taken by the British government to support Libya since the start of the Libyan revolution until today.
Speaking at a reception held following the ceremony during which he presented his diplomatic credentials to the Queen, the new Libyan ambassador said “it is a great honor for me to be appointed the first Ambassador of Libya to the UK after the fall of the old regime. It was also a great honor for my wife, my colleagues and I to have met the Queen” adding “she was very warm and open and asked me a lot of questions about Libya and how the situation was in the past and how it is now.”
He stressed that “I explained the situation in Libya and my optimism about the future and the future with the British government and the British nation.”
He also expressed his “huge appreciation for the support offered by the British government to Libya during the liberation revolution and thereafter” adding “I can see a rosy future for relations between our countries.”
Nacua also praised the Libyan revolution, saying “I give my respect to the brave men and women in Libya who changed the course of history and made the 17 February the dawn of a new Libya.”
Nacua was born in 1937 in the Libyan city of Zintan. He obtained a BA in Arabic and English Literature from the Libyan University in 1963, and went on to work as the Libyan National Broadcasting Cooperation in Tripoli where he eventually rose to the position of news editor. In 1967 he began writing for a number of national Libyan newspapers; however he was arrested and imprisoned by the Gaddafi regime in 1973 for his critical writings. He spent two years as a political prisoner before being released, leaving Libya in 1978. In 1980, Nacua became a founding member of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, eventually settling in the UK in 1988. He continued to write throughout this time for a number of newspapers, including Asharq Al-Awsat, criticizing and denouncing the Gaddafi regime. Nacua was appointed Libyan NTC representative to Britain in August 2011, and was officially appointed and accepted as Libya’s ambassador to the UK just over one year later.