International meeting in Cairo to address Libya issue

Top Arab, African and European diplomats will meet in Cairo on Thursday to discuss the ways to resolve an ongoing political crisis in Libya.

The Arab League, the United Nations, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the African Union and the European Union will co-chair the meeting, which will take place at the Arab League’s Cairo headquarters.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, OIC head Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping and Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, have already arrived in Cairo. The Arab League will be represented at the talks by its Secretary General Amr Moussa.

Participants in the talks will discuss steps to be taken to stop violence in the North African country, restore stability and provide humanitarian aid to thousands of civilians affected by the bloody unrest that has hit the country since mid-February, claiming the lives of more than 6,000 people.

Members of the newly formed Libya Contact Group, who met on Wednesday in the Qatari Capital of Doha, agreed to continue to provide the Libyan rebels with “material support” and to consider channeling funds to them.

The participants in the meeting also urged Gaddafi to step down and allow the Libyan people to decide on their own future.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya on March 17, paving the way for a military operation against embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi which began two days later. The command of the operation was shifted from a U.S.-led international coalition to NATO in late March.

Despite dozens of sorties carried out by NATO aircraft against Gaddafi’s forces, the government troops maintain their combat capability and continue to pound poorly-equipped rebels with heavy artillery and rocket fire.

France and the U.K. acknowledged on Tuesday that the allies should intensify their efforts to cripple Gaddafi’s war machine.

Gaddafi has accepted an African Union road map to ending the civil war in the North African country, but rebels says they will not back down on their demand that Gaddafi must go.


CAIRO, April 14 (RIA Novosti)

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