1 Sep 2011

World leaders to discuss future of Libya

10:43 pm on 1 September 2011

The future of Libya is to be discussed by world leaders at a conference in Paris on Thursday.

The French and British leaders, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron, will host the Friends of Libya conference in a bid to help the country get back on its feet.

The meeting convenes on the day Muammar Gaddafi would have celebrated the 42nd anniversary of the military coup that brought him to power.

Representatives from 60 countries, including the United States, will attend a meeting designed to be an international show of support for the new Libya.

Countries that have already recognised the National Transitional Council will now take more steps to support the new leadership to stabilise the country, Radio New Zealand's European correspondent reports.

They have promised to help with reconstruction, infrastructure and police training.

The European Union says it wants to help with building democracy to pave the way for elections, while many countries are unfreezing billions of dollars in Gaddafi assets.

Russia and China, which did not back the NATO intervention in Libya and which have yet to recognise the ruling interim council, will attend the meeting.

But at the same time, the new authorities have made it very clear they want no foreign military intervention in the country and that NATO must leave just as soon as the Gaddafi regime is definitively toppled.

The chairman of Libya's National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, will open the three-hour session.

He will outline the council's roadmap for a new constitution, elections within 18 months, and measures to avoid bloodshed of the kind seen in Iraq after Saddam Hussein's fall.

The National Transitional Council has given Colonel Gaddafi's remaining forces until Saturday to surrender.

However, one of Colonel Gaddafi's sons, Saif al-Islam, says he and his father will fight on. The whereabouts of Colonel Gaddafi remains unknown.