British Foreign Secretary makes gaffe on Libya

This article is more than 12 months old

MANCHESTER: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that Libya can become a new Dubai if it can clear the dead bodies away, the latest gaffe by Britain's top diplomat.

Mr Johnson, who has offended some allies with flippant remarks, told Conservative Party members that the Libyan city of Sirte could be turned into the next Dubai by British investors.

"They've got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte, with the help of the municipality of Sirte, to turn it into the next Dubai," Mr Johnson said. "The only thing they've got to do is clear the dead bodies away and then we will be there."

Some activists from Prime Minister Theresa May's party laughed at the joke before the chair of the event changed the subject, saying: "Next question."

Britain and France took a leading role in the attacks that helped rebels overthrow dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Mr Gaddafi was killed that year. The country has since descended into chaos, with thousands of casualties.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria took over Sirte in 2015, attracting large numbers of fighters to the city. It was later cleared of the militants. - REUTERS

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