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France will continue to provide military support to Libyan rebels as needed
PARIS (AP) ' The French president promised Wednesday to continue to provide military support for Libyan rebels trying to topple the regime of strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke with reporters after meeting with Mahmoud Jibril, the head of Libya's opposition government. The rebels claim they have most of the capital of Tripoli under their control, but fighting continues.
"We are inclined to continue military operations ... as long as our Libyan friends need it," Sarkozy said.
France was the first country to recognize Jibril's government and has been a key supporter of the NATO airstrike campaign against Gadhafi's forces.
Jibril acknowledged that the fighting wasn't yet finished and that a new Libyan government would need lots of support from the West.
"The combat isn't finished ... there are still many pockets and traces of the old regime that continue to fire," he said. "Then there will be another battle that will be ferocious ' the battle for reconstruction."
The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote this week on a resolution to release billions of dollars in frozen Libyan assets so the country's opposition can establish their leadership and pay for vital medical and humanitarian supplies.
Jibril on Wednesday asked for help in getting the freeze lifted.
Stringer contributed from London. Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations and Angela Charlton in Paris also contributed to this report.