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LONDON: A high-profile international conference on Libya here on Tuesday, attended by representatives of the Arab League and Organisation of the Islamic Conference, urged Muammar Qadhafi to go, saying that his regime had “lost legitimacy'' and Libyans must be free to determine their own future.
In a resolution, it also called for “an immediate ceasefire, a halt to all attacks on civilians and full humanitarian access to those in need'' and declared that the Nato-led military operations would continue until these conditions were met. The decision to press ahead with military attacks came as Russia warned that the alliance was already in danger of breaching the U.N. mandate, which was limited to protecting civilian lives.
Speaking to the media, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the issue of arming the rebels in Libya was not discussed. But Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim al-Thani did not rule out such an option, insisting that the bottom line was getting rid of the Qadhafi regime.
“We urge Qadhafi and his people to leave. I think this is the only solution to sort this problem as soon as possible. Right now we don't see any indication of that [arming the rebels]. But this hope which we offer now might not be on the table after a few days. I'm not warning anybody here, but I am trying to stop the bloodshed as soon as possible,” he said.
The conference decided to set up a Libya Contact Group to coordinate international response to the crisis.
Prime Minister David Cameron described the events in Libya as a “new beginning'' for the people of Libya and the region.
U.N. Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said any ceasefire by the Libyan regime should be “verifiable'' and open to international monitoring. He praised the speed with which the international community had responded. The priority was to save civilian lives. The U.N. was willing to help.
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