Paris conference urges Libya reconciliation

Media caption,
Nicolas Sarkozy: "The participants are going to ask the NTC to undertake a process of reconciliation and of forgiveness"

Western leaders have urged Libya's transitional authorities to engage in a reconciliation process with their enemies, after a summit in Paris.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who chaired the meeting, said anti-Gaddafi forces could achieve nothing without "reconciliation and forgiveness".

Mr Sarkozy said all 63 nations at the meeting were committed to returning frozen assets to the Libyan people.

Col Gaddafi has still not been captured by the interim authorities.

In an audio message broadcast on a loyalist TV channel on Thursday, he vowed he would never surrender.

'It's up to the people'

Mr Sarkozy held the conference jointly with UK Prime Minister David Cameron - the two leaders who were instrumental in passing the UN resolution that allowed Nato forces to intervene in Libya.

And both men stressed that Nato would continue its involvement as long as it was needed to protect civilians.

"We are determined to continued with Nato strikes for as long as Mr Gaddafi and his supporters represent a threat to Libya," said Mr Sarkozy.

And Mr Sarkozy said everyone had agreed to unfreeze assets blocked when Col Gaddafi was still in power.

"After going around the table, it's about $15bn of Libyan assets in our countries that are immediately unfrozen," he said.

He added that the National Transitional Council (NTC) must engage in reconciliation in order to avoid the mistakes made in other countries.

Mr Cameron urged the NTC to make sure perpetrators of the "unspeakable crimes" that were coming to light in Tripoli were brought to justice.

Speaking at the same news conference, NTC leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil said it was now up to the Libyan people to push ahead with reconciliation.

"It's up to you [the Libyan people] to accomplish what we promised: stability, peace and reconciliation," he said.

The BBC's Chris Morris in Paris says the gathering is full of symbolism, coming on the 42nd anniversary of Col Gaddafi's emergence as the leader of the coup that overthrew King Idris.

But it is a sign that the NTC has been accepted by most of the world as the new face of Libya and that the international focus is beginning to move from conflict to reconstruction.

The EU announced on Thursday that it had lifted sanctions on 28 entities - including oil firms and port authorities - to help the NTC get the economy moving again. The decision will take effect on Friday.

The NTC received a further diplomatic boost on Thursday when Russia formally recognised its authority.