UAE Talks to Focus on ‘Post-Gadhafi’ Libya

Posted June 8th, 2011 at 10:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Western and Arab nations are meeting in the United Arab Emirates Thursday for talks on planning a Libya without leader Moammar Gadhafi.

The group is also expected to discuss measures to activate a fund agreed to in May that would provide financial and other assistance to Libya's rebel Transitional National Council.

Foreign ministers from the 22-nation Libyan Contact Group, which includes the U.S., France, Britain and Italy, as well as delegates from the United Nations, the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council and other regional bodies, will attend the meeting.

On Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates challenged five key military allies to assume a greater share of the NATO-led air campaign against Mr. Gadhafi's forces.

At a NATO meeting in Brussels, Mr. Gates said the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey should enhance their limited participation by joining in strike missions against ground targets. He also called on Germany and Poland, two countries not active at all militarily in Libya, to help in some form.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance is preparing for a Libya without its authoritarian leader. The NATO chief said Mr. Gadhafi's departure is no longer a question of “if” he goes, but rather “when.”

Meanwhile, suspected NATO airstrikes resumed in Tripoli late Wednesday after a lull that followed the heaviest day of bombings since March. Thousands of pro-Gadhafi troops carried out a heavy assault on the rebel-held city of Misrata Wednesday, killing at least 12 people and wounding more than 25 others.

NATO is operating under a U.N. mandate that calls for taking all necessary measures other than occupation to protect civilians and civilian areas from attack by Mr. Gadhafi's forces.

Also Wednesday, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said investigators have evidence that Mr. Gadhafi ordered mass rapes of women considered disloyal to his regime. Luis Moreno-Ocampo said his team is looking into whether the Libyan leader provided soldiers with Viagra-like medicines in order to promote the rape of women. He said he may present new charges of mass rape against Mr. Gadhafi.

Separately, the U.N. special envoy for Libya arrived in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi Wednesday for talks with opposition leaders. Jordanian Abdul Ilah al-Khatib came from Tripoli, where he reportedly held talks with officials from Mr. Gadhafi's government.