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France dispatches envoy to rebel-held Benghazi

A French special envoy is on his way to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya to act as an "ambassador" with the transitional national council, according to a French official cited by the AFP news agency.


AFP - France will send an "ambassador" to Benghazi, the Libyan rebel stronghold in eastern Libya, a French official said Tuesday.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that the envoy, 53-year-old Antoine Sivan, was on his way to Benghazi, where the rebellion against embattled strongman Moamer Kadhafi is based.

Sivan's assignment could be officially confirmed on the sidelines of the international conference under way in London Tuesday to map out a post-Kadhafi future for Libya.

More than 35 countries, including seven Arab states, were taking part in the London gathering.

Sivan, a career diplomat and Arabic speaker, left France on Sunday and was to travel by road to Libya via Egypt, the French official said.

On March 10, France was the first nation to recognise the Benghazi-based Transitional National Council (TNC) following a meeting in Paris between Council members and French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

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