China Wants UN to Lead Efforts in Post-War Libya

Posted August 24th, 2011 at 3:25 am (UTC-5)
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The Chinese government is asking the United Nations to lead post-war efforts in Libya, as it calls for a smooth political transition in the war torn North African nation.

A statement on the Chinese foreign ministry's website says China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi called on U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon late Tuesday, urging him to play a leading role and work with other regional organizations to restore order.

A foreign ministry spokesman also said Wednesday that China continues to maintain contact with the Libyan rebels, adding that Beijing had always attached importance to the rebel National Transitional Council's role in the country's future.

The official said that China hopes the “future, new regime” will take effective measures to unite the country, rapidly restore order and start political and economic reconstruction.

China's appeal to the rebels comes as anti-government forces celebrate in the streets of Libya's capital Tripoli and continue to hunt for ruler Moammar Gadhafi.

China — which has billions of dollars in trade deals with Libya — initially had adopted a policy of non-interference in Libya's revolution and refused to follow the lead of other countries in recognizing the Libyan rebels as the country's new government.

Meanwhile, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon is expected to hold urgent meetings this week with major organizations, including the African Union, European Union and Arab League, on Libya.

The African Union, which tried to mediate the Libyan conflict, has yet to recognize the rebels. AU heads of state are scheduled to hold a series of meetings in Ethiopia's capital later this week.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy also has invited the head of Libya's opposition to travel to Paris in the next few days. A French Foreign Ministry spokesman told VOA Tuesday in Paris that Mr. Gadhafi's “time is over in Libya.”

Despite the Libyan rebels recent military gains, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared Tuesday that he will continue to recognize Colonel Gadhafi as Libya's legitimate ruler. He also reiterated his statements condemning the NATO airstrikes in the country and accusing Western countries of seeking to steal Libya's resources.