Libya rebel leader to visit Rome on Friday: Italy

11th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Libyan rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil will visit Rome on Friday for talks with Italian leaders about the future of the country, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said.

Italy will also host a meeting of the contact group on Libya after it meets in the Qatari capital Doha this week, British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced at a joint press conference after talks with Frattini.

"Italy made a choice to strengthen relations with the transitional council of Benghazi" set up by the rebels, Frattini said.

"We are waiting for Mr Jalil, the president of the council, visiting Rome this week. He will be in Rome on Friday.

"He will be received from the highest political authorities in the country, including the president of the republic and prime minister and myself.

"We will be confirming our support in practical terms. We are talking about what to do for the future of Libya."

The visit of Jalil, head of the rebels' Transitional National Council, has been organised after Italy became the third country along with France and Qatar to recognise the opposition as "sole interlocutor."

It was initially due to take place on Tuesday but this was postponed amid ceasefire talks, Italy's foreign ministry said earlier.

Hague added that he and Frattini would both attend Wednesday's meeting in Qatar of the contact group on Libya that was established at a conference of more than 40 countries in London on March 29.

He added: "It has also been agreed that Italy will host the next meeting after that of the contact group." Hague did not give the date of the meeting.

© 2011 AFP

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