Cameron, Sarkozy on aid visit to Libya

By Angela Charlton

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Sept. 15 2011 3:10 a.m. MDT

Rebel fighters pose for journalists at a checkpoint at the northern gate of Bani Walid, Libya, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011. Libyan fighters are signing up for a final assault on one of the last remaining bastions of Moammar Gadhafi. The volunteers are pouring in by the dozens, coming in pickup trucks from cities as far as Tripoli and Tobruk, as a deadline expired on Saturday for the pro-Gadhafi loyalists holed up inside the town of Bani Walid to surrender.

Alexandre Meneghini, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

PARIS — British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived in Libya on Thursday to discuss aid to help the transition to democracy, becoming the first heads of government to visit Tripoli since Moammar Gadhafi fled.

British officials say they will meet with the country's new leaders in the capital.

France's finance minister said the visit is not about landing economic deals but about showing support for the former rebels who ousted Gadhafi.

Francois Baroin, speaking on France-Info radio, said the visit Thursday "is a strong gesture, it is a historic moment to go today to Libya."

Asked whether there were economic arguments for the visit, Baroin said, "we are not at that stage."

France's focus is not yet on reconstruction contracts but on supporting the interim leadership and pursuing "the last pro-Gadhafi pockets," he said.

French news reports said Sarkozy was accompanied by dozens of French riot police, an unusual move.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS