Saturday 21 September 2019

Johnson: Libyan city could become next Dubai once it 'clears dead bodies away'

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: GETTY
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: GETTY

Sam Lister

Boris Johnson was made to "move on" after laughing as he said a Libyan city could become the next Dubai once it had "cleared the dead bodies away".

The British foreign secretary told Tory activists that investors want to transform the coastal city of Sirte, where dictator Muammar Gaddafi was killed during the 2011 civil war, into a new version of the emirate. But when he said the only obstacle is to "clear the dead bodies away", the host of the conference fringe event stepped in.

As Mr Johnson continued to speak, Philippa Stroud, a former special adviser to ex-cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith, said: "Next question."

The Legatum Institute chief executive officer added: "The dead bodies was the move on moment."

Mr Johnson had been asked about his recent visit to the country, which has been hit by violence since the fall of its former leader. The foreign secretary said: "I look at Libya, it's an incredible country.

"Bone-white sands, beautiful sea, Caesar's Palace, obviously, you know, the real one. There's a group of UK business people, actually, some wonderful guys who want to invest in Sirte on the coast, near where Gaddafi was captured and executed as some of you may have seen.

"They have got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte into the next Dubai.

"The only thing they have got to do is clear the dead bodies away," he said before laughing.

Irish Independent

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