Paris Talks Seek ‘Democratic, Inclusive’ New Libya

Posted September 1st, 2011 at 8:55 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Diplomats and political leaders from around the world are in France Thursday to discuss Libya's future after Moammar Gadhafi.

Officials from 60 countries are taking part in the conference in Paris. Before the meeting got under way, British Foreign Secretary William Hague told journalists that Libya's National Transitional Council has begun the process of creating a “democratic” and “inclusive” country.

Officials expect NTC leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil to outline an 18-month process leading to a new constitution and elections.

Russia has become the latest country to recognize the NTC as Libya's legitimate authority. Algeria said separately it will recognize the provisional authority when the NTC follows through on promises to form an inclusive government.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are among leaders attending the meeting hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

China and Russia both have representatives at the talks, although they have criticized NATO's military campaign in Libya over the past few months. The alliance said its airstrikes were justified by a United Nations mandate to protect civilians from the former Gadhafi regime in Tripoli.

France said Thursday it will release more than $2 billion in frozen Libyan assets, an action cleared by the sanctions committee of U.N. Security Council. The committee has already approved the release by Britain and the U.S. of more than $3 billion in seized Libyan assets, to address urgent humanitarian needs.

European diplomats say they expect a final agreement Thursday on lifting sanctions against several Libyan ports, oil companies and more than a dozen other entities. The move is aimed at helping the provisional authority resume economic activities frozen under Mr. Gadhafi's rule.

Provisional authorities in Tripoli have set a Saturday deadline for Mr. Gadhafi and his forces to surrender and give up the final areas under their control.

One of Mr. Gadhafi's sons, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, said late Wednesday that loyalist commanders have told him their men will fight to the death, if necessary, and that their morale is high.

His defiant comments contrasted with those of his brother, Saadi, who told al-Arabiya television he is ready to discuss forming a coalition government with anti-Gadhafi forces in order to stop the bloodshed. Saadi claimed he was speaking with his father's blessing.