10 MAR 2011
By Valentina Pop
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - As fighting continues in Libya, envoys of both the Gaddafi regime and the newly-formed rebel leadership have travelled to Europe for last-minute diplomacy ahead of a Libya summit in Brussels on Friday (11 March).
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to meet in Paris on Thursday two envoys from the Provisional Transitional National Council. The meeting will "discuss the general situation in Libya, and in particular the humanitarian situation and the actions of the Libyan National Council," an Elysee statement said.
The talks come one day after Mahmud Gebril, a former Gaddafi minister turned opposition leader, urged the EU in Strasbourg to "paralyse" Gaddafi's air force and to recognise the opposition as a legitimate political power.
A defiant Colonel Moammar Gaddafi has sent his own envoys to formerly-friendly EU countries: Portugal, Greece and Malta.
The envoys tried but failed to arrange meetings in Brussels, where EU foreign ministers and Nato defence ministers are meeting on Thursday to discuss further measures, including a controversial no-fly zone.
For its part, the European Parliament on Thursday is expected to give a green light to the "principle" of having an internationally enforced no-fly zone in Libya.
The move requires a "clear legal basis" - preferably from the UN Security Council - but China and Russia are so far reluctant to back military intervention.
Nato could go ahead with a no-fly zone by itself, as it did in Serbia in the 1990s. But it needs proof that its forces are needed on the ground and that there is enough "regional support" from neighbouring countries in the Arab League.
Gaddafi on TV on Wednesday warned that his people would "fight back" and hit Western countries if a no-fly zone is imposed.
Read entire article
Nato making 'necessary plans' for Libya
European Parliament calls for Libya no fly zone
(Times of Malta