Lebanese premier to attend Libya conference in Paris
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati is scheduled to attend Thursday the Friends of Libya Conference which is taking place in Paris later in the day, a Lebanese government source said.
A high-ranking French presidential source told the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat that Mikati will attend the conference at the Elysee palace along with Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi and other top officials, DPA reported.
The daily said France has hesitated to invite Mikati, who heads the Hezbollah-led government in Lebanon, to the conference which will mainly welcome the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) leaders into the international fold.
A Lebanese government source said the conference will also be a chance for the Lebanese premier to hold side talks with top French officials at the conference, including Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.
Mikati will be traveling to Paris along with Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour.
The conference is expected to discuss funding for embattled Libya as well as police training and diplomatic recognition for its future administration.
The NTC is relying on its foreign friends - led by Britain, France and the United States - to release tens of billions of dollars in assets which were once controlled abroad by the ousted Libyan regime of Moamer Gaddafi and now frozen by UN decree.