09-21-2020  6:39 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

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Don't Call the Police for domestic disturbances
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David Stringer the Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- International officials and Libya's opposition have drawn up detailed plans to rebuild the North African nation's economy and society following the removal of Moammar Gadhafi, British diplomats said Friday.

Preparations for maintaining law and order, resuming oil production and the potential deployment of U.N. peacekeepers as cease-fire monitors have all been drafted during talks over the last month, which have also discussed how officials currently tied to Gadhafi's regime could be integrated into an interim administration.

A senior British diplomat, who demanded anonymity to discuss the work, said Friday that a team of officials from the U.K., United States, Italy, Turkey, Denmark and other nations has spent several weeks in eastern Libya discussing scenarios with opposition leaders.

"We are planning carefully and comprehensively for the days, weeks and months after Gadhafi has gone," the diplomat said.

The plans, which are expected to be completed next week, include a proposed timetable for resuming oil production in Libya's east. Officials believe there is little serious damage there to hamper production and predict work could begin again three to four weeks after Gadhafi leaves office.

The team also has discussed developing Libya's civil society institutions.

Draft proposals "will inform the international effort, led by the U.N., in response to the requirements expressed by the Libyan people," the diplomat said.

Libya's Transitional National Council intends to run the country until parliamentary and presidential elections can take place - a process that is expected to take many months to prepare for.

The British diplomat acknowledged officials have been mindful of recent failures in post-conflict planning. The U.S. and Britain have been sharply criticized over preparations in Iraq for the fall of Saddam Hussein.

"We have learned the lessons of previous conflicts, this is precisely why the U.K. has been at the forefront of supporting the Libyan people's preparations," the diplomat said.

(See: French troops to progressively leave Afghanistan)

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he had faith in the ability of the Libyan opposition to guide the country toward democratic elections.

"I believe we need to show real support for the Transitional National Council, who I believe are demonstrating they are not extremists, they are not Islamists, they are not tribal. They want a united Libya, but a more democratic Libya," he said, speaking at a European Union summit in Brussels.

Military officials and diplomats in Britain insisted that Gadhafi is being eased out of power, despite his refusal to quit so far.

British military spokesman Maj. Gen. Nick Pope told reporters that a meeting on Tuesday in London of the nations involved in the air campaign in Libya had underscored their resolve. The talks had illustrated the "determination to carry the operation through to a successful conclusion," Pope said.

Attack helicopters and fighter jets have flown 12,000 sorties and struck about 2,400 targets since the campaign began on March 19, he said.

(See: EU foreign ministers freeze assets of Libyan ports)

The British diplomat insisted that pressure would soon force Gadhafi to step down. "The anger against him is simmering. The question is not if he will go, but when," he said.

Meanwhile, at the European Union summit on Friday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy derided the low U.S. profile in the international campaign in Libya, saying that France and Britain are carrying most of the burden and will stay until Gadhafi leaves.

While other European leaders pushed for a political solution in Libya, the French leader strongly defended the NATO-led military operation - and NATO itself. He rebutted comments by U.S. Defense Minister Robert Gates that the alliance's future could be in doubt because of European reluctance to exercise military might.

"I wouldn't say that the bulk of the work in Libya is being done by our American friends," Sarkozy told reporters at the summit. "The French and English and their allies are doing the work."

The United States has insisted on a backseat role in Libya. It led the initial coalition airstrikes in March, but in April withdrew U.S. forces from the direct combat role, limiting them to battlefield surveillance, aerial tanking and other support roles.

Seven NATO members are now participating in air strikes: Britain, France, Belgium, Canada, Norway, Denmark and Italy. But, as Gates said, most of NATO's 28 members, including Germany, have refused to join the strike mission in Libya.

Sarkozy wouldn't give a timeline for an eventual end to the 3-month-old air campaign, saying that would play into Gadhafi's hands and "I don't think that would be constructive."

"Things are progressing. I would have liked them to progress more quickly, but they are progressing," he said. "We must continue until Mr. Gadhafi leaves."

There has been mounting frustration in European capitals over the rising costs of NATO's military campaign at a time of severe financial austerity, and over the alliance's failure to deal a knockout blow to Gadhafi's forces, despite an overwhelming advantage in firepower.

After Sarkozy and Cameron briefed the other EU leaders on the Libya campaign, other EU leaders were keen to stress political solutions.

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Angela Charlton and Slobodan Lekic contributed to this report from the EU summit in Brussels.

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