From 'contact group' to 'friends of Libya'
Tripoli: The international contact group on
Libya is due to gather in Paris on Thursday, with French
President Nicolas Sarkozy proposing to turn it into a
gathering of the "Friends of Libya."
The informal group comprises 28 countries and seven
international organisations in all, although the number of
states sending envoys to the Paris meeting is expected to top
Leading state actors include the United States, Britain
France and Qatar, a prominent supporter of the rebels among
the Arab states.
Also represented in Paris will be the North Atlantic
Treaty Organisation, the United Nations -- expected to be
represented by its secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon -- and the
Libya will be represented at the talks by the rebel
National Transitional Council (NTC).
Although not members of the contact group, China, Russia
and India have been invited to the Paris meeting.
Participants are notably expected to discuss funding for
the war-shattered country, and also practical steps such as
police training and diplomatic recognition for its future
Following its founding in London on March 29, the contact
group held meetings in the Qatari capital Doha on April 13, in
Rome on May 5, in Abu Dhabi on June 9 and in Istanbul on July
Many of its efforts have been devoted to unblocking funds
formerly held by the regime of the overthrown leader Muammar
Gaddafi in order to hand them over to the north African
country's new leaders.