Libyan Rebels Retake Village, World Powers Mull Libya’s Future

Posted July 14th, 2011 at 10:00 am (UTC-5)
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Libyan rebels are planning their next move after retaking a strategic village near Tripoli, while world powers are gathering in Turkey for talks on Libya's future.

Rebels regained control of al-Qawalish on Wednesday, following bitter clashes with forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi.

The opposition fighters have been trying to use the village, located about 100 kilometers south of Tripoli, to advance their efforts to gain control of a nearby highway that leads to the capital. Also, the French News Agency quotes rebels as saying they are planning to launch an offensive on the oil town of Brega.

Meanwhile, representatives from more than 40 nations are gathering in Istanbul for the fourth Libyan Contact Group meeting.

The group has been supporting the efforts of Libyan opposition leaders who are trying to oust Mr. Gadhafi's government. At a June meeting, the group pledged more than $1 billion to help the opposition and civilians affected by the conflict.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is among the officials planning to attend Friday's session. Earlier this week, she said Mr. Gadhafi's days in power “are numbered” and the international community would soon increase the pressure on him to leave.

In a separate development, Libya announced Thursday that it was cutting ties with Italy's oil sector because of the country's involvement in the NATO mission in Libya. The Italian energy company ENI has had a presence in Libya for decades.