A contact group comprising 60 countries, aka “Friends of Libya”, is meeting on Thursday in Paris to discuss the future of the country post-Gaddafi. Envoys from Russia and China – the critics of the NATO campaign – will also attend the conference.
France and Britain, the hosts of the conference, are expected to attempt to deliver a message to the international community that NATO’s costly military intervention in Libya was a success and will guarantee a smooth transition of power while avoiding the mistakes of Iraq.
“The objective is to turn the page and get behind the new authority,” Reuters quoted a French government source as saying. “[Iraq] was a successful military operation, but a failed political transition. We have to learn from that… We have to stand alongside the National Transitional Council, but not impose anything on them.”
The conference agenda is likely to include the discussion of possible loans to Libya’s new governing authority in order to help finance rebuilding of the country’s infrastructure. Several nations have already asked the UN Sanctions Committee to release billions of dollars of Libyan assets frozen by sanctions.