Diplomats draw up plans for post-Gadhafi Libya

AP News
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Posted: Jun 24, 2011 10:21 AM
Diplomats draw up plans for post-Gadhafi Libya

International officials and Libya's opposition have drawn up detailed plans for life following the removal of Moammar Gadhafi, British diplomats said Friday.

Preparations for maintaining law and order, resuming oil production and the potential deployment of U.N. forces as cease-fire monitors have all been drafted during talks over the last month, which have also discussed how officials currently tied to Gadhafi's regime could be integrated into a new, interim administration.

A senior British diplomat, who demanded anonymity to discuss the work, said Friday that a team of officials from the U.K., United States, Italy, Turkey and other nations has spent several weeks in eastern Libya discussing scenarios with opposition leaders.

"We are planning carefully and comprehensively for the days, weeks and months after Gadhafi has gone," the diplomat said.

The plans, which are expected to be published formally next week, include a proposed timetable for resuming oil production in Libya's east.

Officials believe there is little serious damage there to hamper production and predict work could begin again three to four weeks after Gadhafi leaves office.

The team has also discussed developing Libya's civil society institutions.

Libya's Transitional National Council intends to run the country until parliamentary and presidential elections can take place.

The British diplomat acknowledged officials have been mindful of recent failures in postconflict planning. The U.S. and Britain have been sharply criticized over preparations in Iraq for the fall of Saddam Hussein.

"We have learned the lessons of previous conflicts, this is precisely why the U.K. has been at the forefront of supporting the Libyan people's preparations," the diplomat said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he had faith in the ability of the Libyan opposition.

"I believe we need to show real support for the Transitional National Council, who I believe are demonstrating they are not extremists, they are not Islamists, they are not tribal. They want a united Libya, but a more democratic Libya," he said, speaking at a European Union summit in Brussels.

Military officials and diplomats in Britain insisted that Gadhafi is being eased out of power, despite his refusal to quit so far.

British military spokesman Maj. Gen. Nick Pope told reporters that a meeting on Tuesday in London of the nations involved in the air campaign in Libya had underscored their resolve.

The talks had illustrated the "determination to carry the operation through to a successful conclusion," Pope said.

Attack helicopters and fighter jets have flown 12,000 sorties and struck about 2,400 targets since the campaign began on March 19, he said.

The British diplomat insisted the pressure would soon force Gadhafi to step down. "The anger against him is simmering. The question is not if he will go, but when," he said.