Turkish FM calls on Libya contact group to assist NTC in every way possible

Senior officials from 29 countries convened here on Thursday to seek ways on how the international community can cooperate to provide political guidance to the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) and potentially release frozen funds as the rebels look to strengthen their grip on the reins of power.

"The victory of the NTC is a historic turning point not only for Libya but the entire region," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in opening remarks at the meeting.

Representatives from seven organizations, including NATO and the African Union, also attended the Libya contact group meeting at the level of political directors.

Senior officials, ambassadors and council generals from 29 countries, including Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United States are present at the meeting.

The meeting will discuss financial support for NTC and the Libyan people, the protection of civilians, and NTC's efforts to achieve an inclusive and broad-based democratic transition, and urgent needs for essential services and humanitarian relief.

Davutoglu called on the international community to assist the NTC in every possible way as soon as they can and to work towards releasing frozen Libyan assets for the NTC's use.

He said the NTC has proven to be a trustworthy and valuable partner to the international community.

He did warn about complacency and said the transition towards democracy is a lengthy process. "I also hope to see the flag of the NTC raise at the United Nations General Assembly as the legitimate government of Libya," said Davutoglu.

Davutoglu also warned that the NTC should take care to integrate all players in the political process for the future of Libya and incorporate existing structures into the new system.

He also called on NATO to sustain its operations in Libya until security is completely established.

Members of the NTC are participating in meetings in various parts of the world after the rebels entered Tripoli.

The United Nations Security Council began meeting on Wednesday to discuss a U.S. proposal to release frozen Libyan assets to pay for emergency humanitarian aid.

The Libya contact group was created in London on March 29 and comprises around 30 countries and international organizations, including the United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League.

The rebels say they need at least five billion U.S. dollars from frozen Libyan assets to pay state salaries and maintain vital services.

[Source: Xinhua, Istanbul, 25Aug11]

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