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In Paris, US seeks to secure its spot among Libya's new best friends

When it comes time to rebuild Libya after Qaddafi, the US will be looking for its share of contracts. Despite its backseat role in the NATO campaign, the US can expect a good spot on the friends list.

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To the victors go the spoils, the old saying goes – and it appears likely that the case of Libya will uphold the rule.

Libya’s new transitional leaders (formerly known as rebels) used a Paris conference Thursday to outline to the international community their plans for a political transition, as well as to lay out their need for international assistance in stabilizing the country after six months of conflict.

Several attendees, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for the United States, used the gathering of some 60 countries and international organizations to announce the release of billions of dollars in frozen Libyan assets to the new leadership.

But the meeting was also an opportunity for countries to jostle for a spot on Libya’s interim rulers’ list of best friends – a list that is likely to be referenced in the months ahead as Libya gets back on its feet and puts out for bidding everything from ministry rebuilding and infrastructure repair to oil contracts and arms purchases.

Both Britain and France, who led the NATO military mission that helped topple Col. Muammar Qaddafi and who hosted Thursday’s conference, can expect high rankings on the friends list. So, too, can the US, despite its backseat role in the NATO campaign and an initial reluctance to recognize the Transitional National Council (TNC) as Libya’s new legitimate power.

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