Sept. 1 - World leaders gather in Paris in an effort to help Libya map out it's future. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
World leaders gather in Paris in an effort to help Libya map out it's future as rebel forces now control most of the country. The meetings come 42 years to the day after the former strongman Muammar Gaddafi seized power in a coup. Al Arabyia TV is saying that Gaddafi himself marked the occasion by issuing a statement to a Syria TV station that there will be a long fight ahead which will enflame Libya. A tight three-hour agenda will focuses on political and economic reconstruction, with Western powers anxious to avoid mistakes made in Iraq. French Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Juppe is focussing on securing funding for the rebels National Transitional Council SOUNDBITE: French Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Juppe , saying: (French) "We have to help the National Transitional Council because the country is devastated, the humanitarian situation is difficult and there's a lack of water, electricity and fuel. Libya is potentially a rich country. There are some frozen assets which would have been used by the former regime. Right now we are trying to release them. France has approval to release 1.5 billion euros of Libyan assets, not French money, it's Libyan money, to the NTC (National Transitional Council) to start rebuild the country" The meetings also come as Russia has thrown it support behind Libya's new leaders. Russia and China both opposed opposed the NATO intervention in Libya. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov SOUNDBITE: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov , saying: (Russian) "Russia never justified the the former Libyan regime. In May President Medvedev resolutely declared that Gaddaffi must leave. Nevertheless, the way that NATO members and a few other governments brought about the Libyan resolution meant a gross disregard of the principles of the rule of law, and a disregard of the initiative of the African Union in the U.N. and it increased the number of victims among the civilian population. After all, it was the protection of peaceful citizens that was the main objective of what was set in the U.N. resolution to be fulfilled by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization." While the Paris talks are not supposed to be about funding pledges, some aid or loans may be promised to aid the Libya's ruling interim council. The National Transitional Council has said those who took a lead role in backing their revolt will be rewarded. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.