Libya Transition Meeting Set In France

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PARIS, Aug. 25 (UPI) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy said an international conference will be held in France to map out Libya’s transition after the downfall of Moammar Gadhafi.

Sarkozy pledged support for opposition forces in Syria but stopped short of offering military action, EUobserver reported Thursday.

The conference in Paris is set for Sept. 1, the 42nd anniversary of a coup that brought Gadhafi to power.

Sarkozy said the lack of a United Nations mandate precluded military intervention in Syria but he urged Syrian President Bashar Assad to learn from the examples of Libya and the Ivory Coast, both countries where France used force.

“We have made a strategic choice … that we will be on the side of the Arab street each time the street struggles for democracy and liberty,” Sarkozy said Wednesday. “We now have precedents — the Ivory Coast and Libya. This is not to say we will get involved in more conflicts. But we will not give up on our principles. Syrian people have the right to freedom.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron will co-host the conference, which also is to include Libyan rebel leaders Mahmoud Jibril and Mustafa Abdel Jalil and delegates from the 28-country anti-Gadhafi coalition, the Libya Contact Group. Representatives of countries opposed to Western intervention in Libya — China, India, Russia and South Africa — also are to attend.

Gadhafi’s fall has drawn the Western and Arab world’s closer, Sarkozy said.

Jibril called on nations to help Libya reopen schools and provide medical aid and he promised internationally monitored elections and a democratic constitution.

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