France News: Gaddafi, Libya, Hillary Clinton, Syria, DSK, Sarkozy & Carrefour
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Sixty world leaders met in Paris to discuss Libya
Sixty world leaders met in Paris last Friday on the 42nd anniversary of Moammar Gaddafi proclaiming himself de facto leader of Libya. Even though the whereabouts of the dictator aren’t precisely known, officials from Libya’s ruling interim council met with foreign officials and donor groups to discuss financing needs for the weeks and months ahead as Libya starts its rebuilding process.
The conference included the United Nations and nine other multinational organizations. The New York Times reported France President Sarkozy and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron convened the meeting. Both are hoping to have first rights to Libya’s oil supply.
The two men had jointly pressed for military intervention and it was their air forces that have executed many of the bombing runs that protected rebels and enabled them to seize the capital, Tripoli.
According to France24, world leaders agreed to free up billions of dollars in frozen assets to help Libya’s NTC (National Transitional Council) restore vital services.
In addition, short-term aid and longer-term loans will also be needed to help the North African state stave off a humanitarian crisis. The U.S. State Department estimates the NTC could need $500 million for humanitarian needs, $500 million for civilian fuel and power and $500 million for food and health services.
These loans would require approval from International Monetary Fund, World Bank and USAID. For this to happen, the interim government would have to receive approval from the IMF, which would require approval from its 187 members.
France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy took a leading role last March being the first country to recognize the NTC. Sarkozy plans to visit Libya as soon as Gaddafi is found, and according to the Guardian UK Sarkozy hopes this will elevate France’s reputation in the Arab world and his status in the public’s opinion polls.
Clinton says al-Assad must step aside in Syria
In Paris, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the world community should escalate pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by targeting Syria’s oil and gas exports and force him out of office. “The violence must stop and he needs to step aside,” Clinton told reporters in Paris after a meeting Thursday on Libya.
The United Nations cites that more than 2,200 people have been killed since the beginning of near-daily protests across the country protesting Assad’s regime since last March.
Sarkozy comes under fire
An explosive new book states that President Nicolas Sarkozy received illegal contributions for his 2007 presidential election fromLiliane Bettencourt, L’Oréal’s cosmetics heiress. In addition Le Monde claims the French secret service spied on the journalist by tapping his phone calls.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn returns to France
Dominique Strauss-Kahn returned to Paris today after meeting with his former colleagues at the IMF last week, including its director and his replacement, Christine Lagarde. Strauss-Kahn received a standing ovation after his speech where he said that his four years at the IMF were some of the most meaningful of his career.
According to Reuters, the French Socialists are uneasy and are distancing themselves from DSK, who was a leading presidential contender before being accused of sexual assault. Stay tuned.
Carrefour SA posts losses
According to Bloomberg News, Europe’s largest retailer, Carrefour SA, posted an unexpected net loss in the first half of 2011 and abandoned its growth target for the year amid the economic slowdown.
The French retailer reported a net loss of 249 million euro ($359 million) in the first six months of the year contrasted with a 97 million euro profit in 2010.
Stay tuned for next week’s news after the rentrée.
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