France to ‘quickly’ reopen Tripoli embassy

France has begun work to reopen its embassy in Tripoli, the foreign ministry said Friday, in another sign of support for the rebel government in waiting that overthrew Muammar Qaddafi.

“The process of reopening the French embassy in Tripoli has begun. This opening should take place quickly,” spokesman Bernard Valero told reporters.  

A diplomatic source said Antoine Sivan, an Arab-speaking diplomat already in Libya as Paris’ liaison with the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) in Benghazi, would be the first ambassador to the new regime.  

The NTC is moving its government to the capital despite ongoing clashes between its fighters and pro-Qaddafi hold-outs, and has urged the international community to support its fledgling administration.  

France was the first power to recognise the NTC as Libya’s government and President Nicolas Sarkozy has mobilised international military and diplomatic support for the revolution against the 42-year-old regime.  

Paris closed its embassy in Tripoli on February 26 and evacuated its staff amid fears that they would not be safe in a city then under the control of pro-Qaddafi forces.