Sarkozy, Cameron visit Libya for victory lap, pep talk
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British premier David Cameron secured crucial NATO backing of the rebels. Now they want to help the new Libya become a model for other Arab nations.
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Unlike Iraq – in which looting, burning, and violence shot up after the toppling of Saddam Hussein – Libya appears less vulnerable to chaos and insurgency. Anti-Qaddafi forces have been forming a detailed takeover plan for months. Tripoli is not “broken,” water has been restored, and violence has been relatively light considering the Qaddafi-era arsenals left unguarded, and the number of guns in the streets.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Following Qaddafi's fashion
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Mr. Cameron said the world had seen an “impressive transformation” in the few weeks since Qaddafi fled the capital, becoming a fugitive as anti-Qaddafi forces took control.
“This was your revolution, not our revolution. It was those brave people in Misurata, in Benghazi, in Brega, in Zlitan, in Tripoli, in the Nafusa mountains, who were incredibly brave in removing the dreadful dictatorship of Qaddafi,” said Mr. Cameron, paying tribute to key towns captured by the rebels, often after weeks of intense stand-offs with Qaddafi loyalists.
“But let us be clear: This is not finished, this is not done, this is not over. There are still parts of Libya that are under Qaddafi’s control. Qaddafi is still at large, and we must make sure that this work is completed.”
Top US diplomat: Libya needs strong partnerships
Sarkozy and Cameron arrived in Tripoli a day after the top US diplomat for the region, Jeffrey Feltman, restated Washington’s “enduring commitment” to Libya. American military assets were crucial in the early stages of the NATO intervention, and have since provided unique capabilities such as managing air campaigns and intelligence.
“We’re going to be guided by what the Libyans themselves think is appropriate for the United States and the international community to do,” Mr. Feltman said on Wednesday.
“It’s not so much that Libya needs a great amount of assistance in terms of financial resources,” Feltman said. “I think Libya needs strong partnerships in the region, and in the international community. It’s going to be the Libya people themselves that are going to define how those partnerships work and what we should concentrate on.”
Turkey’s premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is on a regional tour touting Turkey’s increased regional influence, is expected to arrive in time for Friday prayers in Tripoli. He received a rock-star welcome in Egypt on Tuesday, due to his strong criticism of Israel and support for the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations next week.