Libyan rebel leaders to hold talks with NATO Council

AFP , Wednesday 6 Jul 2011

Libya's National Transitional Council will hold a meeting with NATO's 28-nation North Atlantic Council on 13 July to present their plans for democratic transition

Libyan rebel leaders for the first time will hold talks with NATO's 28-nation North Atlantic Council on 13 July  to present their plans for democratic transition, NATO's chief said Wednesday.

Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the ambassadors of NATO's decision-making body "will hold informal talks" with a delegation led by Mahmud Jibril of the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council (NTC).

"I will also hold a bilateral meeting with Mr Jibril" the same day, Rasmussen added.

The NATO chief said Jibril will present the NTC's roadmap to bring democracy to the country ruled by Moamer Gaddafi for four decades.

"The goal of this meeting is to exchange points of view," Rasmussen said. "The NTC has drafted a roadmap and it is important for the NATO Council to discuss this subject with Mr Jibril."

The rebel delegation is also expected to meet in Brussels next week with European Union president Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.

While the 27-nation EU has opened a mission in Benghazi, NATO does not have an office there.

Rasmussen has met NTC officials at meetings abroad of the international contact group on Libya.

Several NATO nations, including the United States, Britain and France, have recognised the NTC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Turkey became the latest alliance member to recognise them on Monday.

NATO is in the fourth month of an air war conducted under a UN mandate to protect civilians from Gaddafi troops.

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