Italy Urges Recognition of Libya Rebels, Sarkozy to Welcome Jalil

World | April 19, 2011, Tuesday // 21:12|  views

Chairman of the Libyan National Transitional Council Mustafa Abdel Jalil (L) meets Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini (R) at the Italian Foreign Ministry in Rome. EPA/BGNES

Other countries should follow the example set by Italy, France and Qatar in officially recognizing the Libyan rebels fighting dictator Muammer Gaddafi, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini declared.

Frattini made the appeal, as cited by DPA, following talks in Rome with Mustafa Abdel Jalil who heads the Benghazi-based Interim Transitional National Councilm, the main grouping of forces seeking to overthrow Gaddafi.

Frattini cited Jalil - a former justice minister under Gaddafi - as saying that 10 000 people had been killed and up to 55,000 wounded in the civil conflict in Libya so far.

Jalil confirmed that the transition council is committed to transforming "Libya from a country where power is won by manning a military tank to one where it is won through the ballot box," Frattini said after the talks.

On his first foreign tour in his current role, Abdel Jalil planned to meet Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi later Tuesday. On Wednesday Abdel Jalil was scheduled to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris.

"Оur economic future will involve those who have supported us. ... There will be friendship and cooperation above all with Italy, France and Qatar," Abdel Jalil said as quoted by DPA.

Frattini said Italy would host an international meeting on May 2 on allowing foreign oil sales from rebel-held eastern Libya.

Italy, which ruled Libya as a colony from 1911 to 1942, had in recent years pursued close ties with Gaddafi's government, including the signing of a 2008 friendship agreement.

However, allegations that Libyan government forces have targeted civilians during attempts to crush the current uprising, have prompted Italy to join fellow NATO allies in a military campaign against Gaddafi.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will meet the head of Libya's rebel opposition, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, in Paris on Wednesday.

It will be the first time Sarkozy, the most proactive foreign leader in recognizing the government of the Libyan rebels in Benghazi, will meet their head.

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Tags: France, Italy, Qatar, Libya, mustafa abdel jalil, Mustafa Abudel-Jalil, Franco Frattini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Benghazi, Muammar Gaddafi


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