Friday, June 10, 2011

Libya Contact Group meets in UAE

Foreign ministers from more than 20 countries pose in front of cameras during the third meeting of Contact Group on Libya in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Thursday June 9, 2011

Source: Press TV

More than 20 foreign ministers and Libya's revolutionary representatives have discussed the Libyan crisis at the third International Contact Group meeting in the UAE.

During the meeting on Thursday, several Western countries, including the US and Australia recognized the Transitional National Council (TNC) as "the legitimate interlocutor" of the Libyan people.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who arrived in Abu Dhabi Wednesday night, "used the word 'the' rather than 'a' in describing the TNC as the legitimate interlocutor for the Libyan people through this interim period," AFP quoted a senior US State Department official as saying on Thursday.

The meeting attended by representatives of NATO military alliance, the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council, the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union, and the Arab League, was held against the backdrop of mounting Western and Arab countries' pressure for the TNC to thrash out a comprehensive plan for Libya without embattled ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

On the other side of the talks, the Libyan revolutionaries expressed hope that the oil production will restart as soon as possible. However, they asked for three billion dollars in aid to cover salaries and assure food supplies for several months.

"We are hoping soon" to restart producing 100,000 barrels of oil per day from the eastern fields, said TNC Oil and Finance Minister Ali Tarhouni during the meeting.

Meanwhile, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said his country would grant the revolutionaries up to $586 million of cash and fuel aid backed by frozen Libyan assets.

The first Libyan Contact Group meeting, which was held in April in Qatar, called on the 69-year-old Libyan ruler to relinquish power in the face of the popular revolution.

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