Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Libyan rebels expected to meet NATO, EU next week | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

BRUSSELS, (Reuters) – Libyan rebel leaders are expected to visit Brussels next week for talks with NATO and European Union officials, diplomats said Tuesday.

The Libyan rebel delegation, led by Mahmoud Jebril of the opposition National Transitional Council (NTC), is expected to meet NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on July 13, a NATO diplomat said.

The delegation is also expected to meet EU officials, who could include EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, an EU diplomat said.

NATO officials declined to confirm the visit, but one noted that Rasmussen had met representatives of the opposition council several times and would continue to do so.

“NATO has had contacts with the NTC as part of the broad international efforts to find a solution to the Libya crisis … such meetings have taken place and will continue to take place,” the official from the military alliance said.

Leaders of EU institutions have met rebel leaders several times and the European Union has established an office in Benghazi, where the NTC is based.

The NATO visit will come nearly four months after the start of a Western bombing campaign that NATO took over on March 31 and at a time of heightened speculation that the conflict could be moving toward an end-game.

The Libyan government said Monday it had held talks in Italy, Egypt and Norway with senior figures in the Libyan opposition about finding a peaceful way out of the conflict, but a government spokesman said Tuesday it was not negotiating about Muammar Gaddafi giving up power.

Nine of the 27 EU countries and 12 of the 28 NATO states have recognized the NTC as representing the Libyan people.