Libyans free to choose their way of democracy: Juppe

Libyans free to choose their way of democracy: Juppe

Libyans free to choose their way of democracy: Juppe

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe (L) and President of NTC Mustafa Abdel Jalil, arrive at the NTC headquarter. AFP photo

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Dec. 14 that France could “very soon” release €230 million of the previous regime’s frozen assets to the Libyan central bank a move that can ease the cash crunch since the civil war ended. Juppe, who arrived in Tripoli for a two-day visit, also said it was up to the Libyan people to decide what kind of democracy they want.

“It (France) has already taken a decision to unfreeze the funds,” Juppe said at a news conference with Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Keib. “I confirmed to the prime minister that unfreezing of €230 million could happen very soon for the benefit of the Libyan central bank,” he said, adding that Paris was working at the U.N. Security Council to release billions of dollars in assets still frozen.

Libyan leaders have regularly called upon world powers to release these assets to meet the daily needs of the government, including for salaries and to kick-start reconstruction activities across a country severely devastated by the conflict that ousted long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi. Juppe also said only the Libyans themselves could decide the kind of democracy they wanted. “It is upon the Libyan people and the Libyan people alone to choose their future, to build democracy as they conceive it and to choose their priorities,” he said after talks with Keib.

İhsanoğlu met with Libyan PM

Yesterday, Juppe argued that Islam and democracy are not incompatible, insisting that the Arab Spring, which has already toppled three dictators, should open the way to political pluralism. “I refuse to accept the idea that Islam and democracy are incompatible and that the Arab people only have a choice between dictatorship and fundamentalism,” Juppe told hundreds of students at the University of Tripoli. “It has been our desire to establish contacts and dialogue with all the actors of the Arab Spring, without exception, on the condition that they respect the rules of the democratic game, principal among which are the renunciation of violence, the rights of men and women, and respect for minorities.
Meanwhile, Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu met with al-Keib in Libya. Delegations of both sides discussed the process of reconstruction of the country. İhsanoğlu was expected to finalize his talks yesterday.

Compiled from AFP and AA stories by the Daily News staff.