France sends envoy to Libyan rebels base in Benghazi: press

France has sent an envoy to Benghazi in eastern Libya where the rebels are based, local press quoted an unnamed official on Tuesday as saying.

According to AFP, the veteran French diplomat Antoine Sivan, 55 years old and an Arabic speaker, departed France on Sunday and was on the way to Benghazi via Egypt.

Benghazi is the stronghold of Libyan rebels and now locates their rebel administration National Transition Council (NTC), which France has taken the lead to recognize as the unique legitimate body to represent Libya people.

France has expressed the intention to dispatch an "ambassador" to the rebels' base in Benghazi after two rebel representatives had a talk with President Nicolas Sarkozy in Elysee Palace on March 10. French foreign ministry later on received rebel representatives one more time and said they had regular contacts with the rebels' body.

There was no official confirmation from the French administration about the "ambassador," but local press said a possible confirmation could be unveiled on the sidelines of the Libya-focused international meeting hosting over 35 nations in London.

The London meeting is expected to set out main guidelines aiming at a political solution to Libya crisis. All members of the coalition in military operation in Libya, as well as the UN, NATO and the Arab League are attending the conference.

[Source: Xinhua, Paris, 29Mar11]

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