Libya’s Interim Leaders, Foreign Officials Discuss Aid Needs

Posted September 2nd, 2011 at 7:00 am (UTC-5)
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Members of Libya's interim ruling council are working with foreign officials to find out specific ways to help their country emerge from the months-long fight against Moammar Gadhafi.

The Friday session in Paris comes a day after world leaders also meeting there pledged $15 billion in financial and humanitarian support to Libya's provisional government. Libya's reconstruction team is determining how best that newly released money should be spent.

Meanwhile, Turkey reopened its embassy in Libya on Friday, following the Thursday announcement that other countries — notably Romania and Russia — recognized the National Transitional Council as Libya's “ruling authority.”

Separately Thursday, a military official with Libya's interim government called Mr. Gadhafi “delusional,” in response to the former leader's recent audio messages calling for his supporters to continue fighting.

NTC military spokesman Colonel Ahmad Bani said late Thursday that Mr. Gadhafi has no connection to Libyans at all and accused him of trying to flee the country.

Bani also said the NTC's forces want to “avoid bloodshed,” as they seek to take over Mr. Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte. But he said they are “ready and able to have a decisive battle,” if Gadhafi loyalists there do not surrender within the next week.

Bani's comments follow the broadcast of two audio messages attributed to Mr. Gadhafi on Arabic television news channels earlier Thursday.

In the messages, Mr. Gadhafi said his loyalists would never surrender and would leave the country “engulfed in flames” from guerrilla warfare. He also accused NATO of seeking to occupy Libya and vowed to prevent oil exports.

NTC forces, who have effectively ended Mr. Gadhafi's rule, have given loyalist fighters in Sirte an additional week to surrender. The NTC had originally set a Saturday deadline, but then said negotiations with tribal elders had made progress. The extension of the deadline also applies to other strongholds of Gadhafi supporters.