Libya rebel leader in talks with French president

14th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

A senior leader of Libya's rebels, Mahmud Jibril, arrived Saturday in Paris where he met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to discuss the conflict and prospects for transition.

Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon welcomed Jibril on the steps of the Elysee Palace, the president's official residence.

The French leader last met with Jibril, the prime minister of the rebels' National Transitional Council, in early March.

France is one of the few outside powers, along with Italy, Qatar and Gambia, to have formally recognised the Council as the Libyan people's legitimate representative.

France has been taking part along with other international forces under NATO command in airstrikes on Colonel Moamer Kadhafi's strategic sites.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe called on forces to step up military intervention in Libya in an interview published Saturday by Arabic daily Al-Hayat.

Jibril held his first talks at the White House on Friday, meeting with National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. But White House spokesman Jay Carney made clear that US recognition would not be immediately forthcoming.

Sarkozy has called for a gathering of international "friends of Libya" to discuss its future.

© 2011 AFP

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