Libya contact group to meet in London next week
A contact group of representatives from countries involved in the operation in Libya will meet in London next Tuesday to discuss the progress made and "take forward" its work, dpa reported.
The conference, which will be hosted by British Foreign Secretary William Hague, would "take stock" of the implementation of the UN Libya resolution so far and "take forward this work," a statement issued in London said.
The meeting was also announced in Paris by French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.
Hague said a "wide and inclusive range of countries" would be invited, particularly from the region.
"We will consider the humanitarian needs of the Libyan people and identify ways to support the people of Libya in their aspirations for a better future," Hague said.
It was critical that the international community continued to take united and coordinated action in response to the unfolding crisis.
"The meeting will form a contact group of nations to take forward this work," he said.
France wants the contact group, which will also include representatives from the Arab League and African Union, to assume the leadership of the five-day-old United Nations-backed operation to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.
Until now, the operation has been led by the US, Britain and France, acting under US military command, with the support of Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Spain and Qatar. But the US, Britain and other coalition members now want NATO to take over.
NATO, which is enforcing a naval blockade on Libya, has yet to decide on whether it will take responsibility for enforcing the no- fly zone. NATO ambassadors were continuing talks on the issue in Brussels Wednesday.
France, which led the diplomatic push for the intervention, initially resisted NATO's involvement, saying a NATO operation would generate hostility in the Arab world.
Paris has now agreed to let NATO have a role in the planning and execution of the campaign, but wants the more inclusive contact group to take the political leadership for the intervention.
Next week's meeting was to "make it very clear that the political oversight of the operation is not NATO, it's that contact group," Juppe said.
Juppe also predicted the Libyan operation would be short-lived.
"There's no question of getting bogged down, this operation will be of short duration," he vowed.