FM pledges equality, mutual benefit as Libya rebuilds

Updated: 2011-09-17 08:08

By Cui Haipei (China Daily)

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 FM pledges equality, mutual benefit as Libya rebuilds

Anti-Gadhafi fighters advance southwest of Sirte, one of Muammar Gadhafi's last remaining strongholds, on Thursday. Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

BEIJING - China on Friday reiterated that it will follow the principle of equality and mutual benefit as Libya rebuilds. That comes as world leaders begin visiting the new Libyan government.

"We attach great importance to Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) and believe that the Libyan people have the wisdom and ability to handle relationships with all parties," Jiang Yu, spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry, said at a regular news briefing.

"We also hope to promote sound and stable development of our bilateral ties under the principle of mutual benefit and play an active role in the reconstruction of the country."

China believes successful reconstruction requires strong investor confidence and hopes that previously signed contracts will be completed in accordance to expectations, Jiang said.

The NTC has reaffirmed that it will fulfill outstanding agreements and contracts with other countries.

China officially recognized the NTC as the ruling authority and representative of the Libyan people on Monday.

The Chinese ambassador to Libya will return to Tripoli when the "condition is right", Jiang said.

Also on Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Tripoli for the final leg of his three-nation tour.

Erdogan, on a North African tour to assert Ankara's regional influence, is hoping to reap political and economic dividends from Libya's new rulers for his country's help in their struggle to end Muammar Gadhafi's 42-year grip on power.

Libya is the last leg of Erdogan's tour, which also includes Egypt and Tunisia.

He arrived in Tripoli a day after the visits of British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who became the first foreign leaders to visit the North African country in a show of support for the ruling NTC.

The French and British leaders got a welcome worthy of rock stars by NTC chief Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, and they promised to release to the NTC tens of billions of dollars in Libyan assets, which are currently frozen in international banks.

All that backing could put France and Britain in a good position to cash in on the lucrative trade and oil businesses once the country gets on its feet.

Abdul-Jalil said as far back as May that countries siding early with the rebels would "have the best opportunity in future contracts in Libya".

He suggested similarly again on Thursday after meeting the two western leaders. "As faithful Muslim people, we will appreciate these efforts, and they will have priority within a framework of transparency," he said.

NTC forces on Friday surged into the desert town of Bani Walid in a fierce attack on one of the last strongholds still in the hands of Gadhafi loyalists.

Explosions and gunfire echoed over the hills surrounding the town, which has been under siege for two weeks, with hundreds of die-hard supporters of the country's fugitive former ruler concentrated around its center.

There was also a report on Al-Jazeera television of fierce fighting at Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte on the coast, a day after interim government forces announced a breakthrough.