Fox: Royal Navy will continue to keep a watch over Libya

PRAISE Defence Secretary Liam Fox
PRAISE Defence Secretary Liam Fox
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Walrus-Class Submarine 'HNLMS WALRUS' of the Royal Netherlands Navy inbound to Portsmouth on a weekend visit.
Picture: Tony Weaver

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THE Royal Navy has been put on standby off the coast of Libya after rebel forces stormed the capital city of Tripoli.

Portsmouth-based HMS Liverpool is understood to have moved closer to Tripoli as pockets of fighting continues in the city.

Defence secretary Liam Fox, who is visiting RAF Odiham in Hampshire this morning, told The News: ‘It’s clear the majority of Tripoli has fallen although there are still pockets of fighting.

‘The Royal Navy will continue to play our part in the arms embargo and we will continue to do so as long as Nato decides that’s necessary.’

Air strikes from HMS Ocean and shelling from HMS Liverpool, which have been a feature of the Libyan campaign in recent months, have now ceased as a result of the rebels’ advances - but it is not known when UK forces will pull out of Libya, Dr Fox said.

He added: ‘We are effectively in an overwatch role now but we will still be maintaining our forces there and where there are threats posed from remnants of Gaddafi’s regime we will not fail to act.

‘We have our naval forces in the region, that’s all I will say. The capability is there should we require it.’