Q. – Can we say France played a predominant role in the fall of the Gaddafi regime?
THE MINISTER – Yes, from the outset France was at the forefront in condemning the regime and calling for an end to it. It was France who manoeuvred diplomatically and militarily with our British friends. It was France who secured the UN Security Council decision to launch the airstrikes without which we wouldn’t be seeing the current outcome.
France and Britain were behind 80% of NATO’s military effort. We took risks, but we knew it was a just cause. Of course, some people complained about the length of the conflict and feared getting bogged down. It took six months. When you compare it with other situations, like Afghanistan, it puts things in perspective. Six months to achieve the end of the dictatorial Libyan regime doesn’t strike me as all that long.
Q. – Should France remain at the forefront in building the post-Gaddafi era?
THE MINISTER – Yes, it’s her legitimate role. The first Contact Group meeting on Libya was held in Paris. It was President Sarkozy who first recognized the transitional government and welcomed its representatives onto French soil. He’ll be meeting the Prime Minister of the National Transitional Council this Wednesday. I’ve spent the whole day phoning my counterparts in the Contact Group to propose the organization, in Paris next week, of [a meeting of] this group – which could become the Group of friends of Libya – to establish what could be the road map for a democratic Libya. That proposal was very favourably received. It’s a rich country that can afford to rebuild itself, but it’ll need the international community to help it, and France intends to play her full role in this reconstruction. (…)./.