Libyan rebel council to address contact group: France
The Libyan opposition's shadow government, the Transitional National Council, will address the international diplomatic contact group on Wednesday at talks in Qatar, a French spokesman said.
The invitation marks another step in the armed rebel group's gradual march towards international legitimacy as an alternative voice for Libya's people, in opposition to Moamer Kadhafi's 42-year-old regime.
"Not only will they be there, but -- and this should be checked with the Qataris -- unlike London, where they were on the sidelines, they will appear before the contact group," the foreign ministry's Bernard Valero said.
On March 29 in London, the TNC was not permitted to attend the plenary session of an international ministerial conference on the crisis in Libya, although its envoys held bilateral talks with several world powers.
Since then, with Kadhafi continuing to defy NATO airstrikes and mounting calls for him to quit office, the opposition council has gained support and recognition, notably from France, Italy and Qatar.
Valero said France would welcome the group playing a bigger role at the Wednesday meeting of around 20 countries and international bodies in Doha, at which France will be represented by Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.
© 2011 AFP