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March 1, 2011: Libya

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On Libya, France Says Oil Question "Makes No Sense," It'll Pay Market Price

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 16 -- When Nicolas Sarkozy of France and the UK's David Cameron visited Tripoli this week, Cameron said his country would help "hunt down" Gaddafi.

 Meanwhile Sarkozy's foreign minister Alain Juppe has said it would be only "natural" if French companies ending up getting 35% of oil contracts with the National Transitional Council, since France supported them.

  Inner City Press on Friday asked French Ambassador Gerard Araud about this 35% of oil figure. Araud responded that the question "doesn't make sense." He said that "the Libya of Gaddafi also sold oil to Western companies" and that the new national government "will sell at the market price."

  But the idea is that French companies like Total will get contracts, including exploration contracts. Dirk Vandewalle, the adviser to the UN's adviser Ian Martin, has noted that "international oil and gas companies continue to rank the Jamahiriyya as the top exploration spot anywhere in the world... due to the fact that three-quarters of the country's territory remained unexplored."

  Inner City Press asked Araud, what about French companies? Araud replied that they too would pay the market price and that anyway this was "premature... we are in the middle of the fighting."

  On that, Inner City Press asked how NATO now bombing Sirte and Bani Walid could be construed as protecting civilians. Araud merely said, NATO is protecting civilians.

Araud & Emmanuel Bonne w/ Libya's Treki, more to follow

  UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, when asked the same question by Inner City Press, was more nuanced, noting that NATOs mandate will continue to be reviewed and might be ended, in consultation with the Libyan authorities.

  The newly (re) accredited Libyan representative at the UN Ibrahim Dabbashi had been waiting to speak to the assembly press at the stakeout but previous speakers too too long and Dabbashi left to talk with a single channel.

  Inner City Press asked Lyall Grant to explain what David Cameron meant by helping to "hunt down" Gaddafi. "I'm not going to comment," Lyall Grant said, on something said by the Prime Minister. What about Prime Minister's questions? Watch this site.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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