''Friends of Libya'' to meet in Paris to secure rebel victory

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Paris, Aug 30: Senior officials from around 60 countries will meet in Paris on Thursday as the "friends of Libya" to secure financial and diplomatic support for the fledgling revolutionary regime.

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain will jointly host the event, welcoming leaders of the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) into the international fold.

Dozens more leaders and Foreign Ministers will take part in an event at once symbolic and practical: it marks a rebirth after 42 years of Gaddafi's misrule, but also a chance to urge the unfreezing of Libyan assets.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel will come.

The United States and Turkey will be represented by Foreign Ministers Hillary Clinton and Ahmet Davutoglu.

The biggest question mark hangs over the attitude of the major non-Western powers, China, India, Russia, South Africa and Brazil, who had concerns over the NATO intervention, but will now be asked to help in rebuilding.

Yesterday, diplomats at the United Nations in New York said China was dragging its feet over moves to release some Libyan currency frozen in Britain during the final months of strongman Muammar Gaddafi's rule.

Russia has said it has not been invited to Paris, despite Sarkozy saying that it had. Moscow insists the United Nations must take the lead in dealing with the new authorities in Tripoli. 

PTI

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