Sarkozy to host senior Libya rebel Jibril: presidency

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France's President Nicolas Sarkozy will meet a senior leader of Libya's rebels, Mahmud Jibril, in Paris on Saturday to discuss the conflict and prospects for transition, the French presidency said.

Sarkozy will meet with Jibril, the prime minister of the Libyan rebels' National Transitional Council, at 3:30 pm (1330 GMT) on Saturday at the Elysee presidential palace, a presidential statement said.

"The meeting will focus on the situation in Libya and the process of democratic transition," it added.

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.

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

Jibril was due to hold 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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