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Turkey says NATO operations to last

ANKARA (AP) -- Turkey's Foreign Minister said Tuesday NATO's air operations over Libya will continue until security in the country is fully restored.

Speaking in the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi, Ahmet Davutoglu also called for the rapid release of all frozen assets to help Libya during the country's transition to democracy.

"What is important is that Libya's territorial integrity be secured,'' Turkey's Anatolia news agency quoted Davutoglu as saying in reference to the alliance's air campaign in Libya. Davutoglu was addressing a joint news conference with Libyan opposition leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil.

Davutoglu said that ``frozen Libyan assets should be returned to the service of the Libyan people,'' adding that the Libyan people were in urgent need of "financial resources.''

The Turkish minister visited Benghazi before a meeting in Istanbul on Thursday between diplomats from the ``contact group'' of nations involved in efforts to stabilize Libya.

Turkish officials said the meeting would seek ways of assisting the opposition in the transition toward democracy while Davutoglu said the issue of releasing frozen assets would also be taken up.

France's foreign ministry says the Istanbul meeting will prepare for a foreign ministers' meeting in Paris next week.

Last month Turkey's banking regulatory body froze a Libyan Bank's holdings in the country, taking control of the Libyan Foreign Bank's 62 percent stake in Turkey's Arap-Turk Bankasi A.S.

Meanwhile, Prague was the latest world capital to have a flag torn down at a Libyan embassy and replaced by one symbolizing the rebel movement. The staff even burned it and threw the remains away.

"We don't like it. We hate it because it is the flag of this dictator,'' Nuri E. O. Eighawi, the charge d'affaires, told AP inside the compound, calling the flag a "bad memory.''

He predicted Gadhafi would not hold on to power beyond Friday and described the government in Tripoli as ``running'' away and virtually non-existent.

"I wish we will catch him -- and not to kill,'' he added, hoping that Gadhafi will be tried by a Libyan court as opposed to an international one.

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