Allies Split on Oil Access

Gianluigi Guercia / Getty Images

Tens of thousands of libyans celebrate the arrest of Kadhafi's son Saif al-islam and the partial fall of Tripoli in the hands of the Libyan rebels on August 21, 2011 in Benghazi, Libya. Libyan rebels surged into Tripoli Sunday in a final drive to oust Moamer Kadhafi, seizing swathes of the capital including symbolic Green Square and arresting the strongman's son, Seif al-Islam. Thousands of residents poured onto the streets to welcome the rebels, congregating at the site which the renamed Martyrs Square near the water front in the centre of Tripoli.

While meeting in Paris to discuss Libya’s future, world leaders who pledged support to the rebels have begun to spar over one important asset: oil. Representatives of 63 countries said at the “friends of Libya” conference that they hoped to avoid the pitfalls of Iraq, but divisions emerged for access to oil among the countries that urged for military intervention to overthrow Col. Muammar Gaddafi and those that did not, such as Russia and China. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé argued for French companies to have first access to Libyan contracts and reconstruction, since France was the first country in March to acknowledge the rebels’ provisional government. Russia, meanwhile, argued that the United Nations should take the lead on Libya’s reconstruction.