Korea to join newly made int’l group to rebuild Libya

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Korea to join newly made int’l group to rebuild Libya

Korea is joining a new group of countries that will lead international efforts to reconstruct Libya, with many business opportunities expected along the way.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung-hwan will attend the inaugural meeting of “Friends of Libya” in Paris on Thursday to discuss plans to rebuild the war-torn North African country, according to the ministry. Friends of Libya is expected to replace the Libya Contact Group, an informal aid group for Libyan rebels, as the main channel for international aid in a post-Qaddafi Libya.

The 50 countries that make up Friends of Libya - 28 of which participated in the Libya Contact Group - will attend the one-day Paris meeting to draft nation-building policies for the country now represented by the National Transitional Council.

Seven international organizations including the United Nations will take part, with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon slated to attend the meeting.

Korea, a major trade partner with Libya, participated in the fourth meeting of the Libya Contact Group on July 15 and was invited to join Friends of Libya, a ministry official said.

Korea has been criticized for not quickly siding with the rebel movement in Libya, but Seoul officials said it feared retaliatory measures on its business ties and the safety of Korean nationals in Libya. Korea officially recognized the NTC on Aug. 23.

“It is true that we were late in recognizing the anti-government forces compared with some Western countries, but we were quicker in doing so than some other Asian countries,” a ministry official said.

By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]
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