Libyan rebel leader Jibril to hold talks with Sarkozy

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 24, 2011 5:15 PM
Libyan rebel leader Jibril to hold talks with Sarkozy

PARIS (Reuters) - Libyan rebel leader Mahmoud Jibril will meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on Wednesday to discuss prospects for a political transition in a post-Muammar Gaddafi era.

France spearheaded the West's military intervention in Libya with Sarkozy taking a personal gamble less than a year from a presidential election by becoming the first foreign leader to formally support the rebels.

Jibril is head of the executive committee of Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) and is referred to as prime minister of the country, where rebel forces this week overran the capital Tripoli, forcing Gaddafi to flee his compound.

Sarkozy's office said the two men would hold a news conference on Wednesday evening.

Gaddafi vowed on Wednesday to fight on to death or victory after rebels forced him to abandon his Tripoli stronghold.

Paris is looking to carry on the diplomatic momentum it began by taking a lead in the Libyan crisis following its hesitation as the Arab Spring began in Tunisia and Egypt in late 2010.

Sarkozy has called for a special "Friends of Libya" conference to be held in Paris in the next 10 days which could bring together as many as 30 foreign leaders and international organizations to help ease Libya's reconstruction and transition into a democratic state.

The details are due to be finalized at a meeting of senior diplomats in Istanbul on Thursday.

(Reporting by John Irish)