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France - Libya

Sarkozy, Cameron given heroes' welcome in Tripoli


French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron were greeted by delighted staff when they toured Tripoli Medical Centre, shortly after they arrived separately in the Libyan capital on Thursday.


Crowds of people thronged to shake the two leaders hands, chanting "Thank you, thank you," as they toured three of the hospital wards.

When asked if he was pleased by the reception, the French president told reporters: "It's not about being pleased. It's extremely moving to see young Arabs turn towards these two great Western countries to say 'Thank you'."

Britain's David Cameron pledged his country's help in hunting Moamer Kadhafi, while Sarkozy said there was a "job to finish" in eliminating the remaining strongholds of his forces.

The two men are the first world leaders to visit post-Kadhafi Libya, and both hope to benefit from the gamble they took in pledging early support for the rebels who overthrew Kadhafi and are now in power in the Libyan capital.

France was the first country to recognise the National Transitional Council and the first to back the idea of a Nato military intervention.

Earlier this month, Sarkozy and Cameron jointly hosted an international conference in Paris to discuss Libya's future.

Paris and London now hope to be rewarded for their support with commercial contracts as Libya enters a period of reconstruction.

And ahead of Presidential elections in May 2012, Nicolas Sarkozy will be keen to exploit what is widely seen as his successful handling of relations with Libya's rebels, to help people forget the messy reponse to Tunisia's revolution




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