World powers create contact group on Libya

National leaders and diplomats, meeting at a London conference seeking to boost pressure on Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi and discuss Libya’s future, agreed on Tuesday to set up a group to coordinate all international efforts in the troubled north African country.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Arab League, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen and up to 40 foreign ministers attended the London conference.

The contact group will coordinate international reaction on Libyan events, as well as help establish contacts between the world community and Libya.

On March 17, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya and measures to protect civilians from Gaddafi’s forces. NATO began taking over command of the coalition military intervention in Libya from the United States on Sunday.

“Today we must be clear and unequivocal: we will…continue to implement the UN resolution for as long as is necessary to protect the Libyan people,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said.

“Gaddafi is using snipers to shoot [the people of Libya] down and let them bleed to death in the street. He has cut off food, water and electricity to starve them into submission. He continues to be in flagrant breach of the UN Security Council resolution. That is why there has been such widespread support amongst the Libyan people – and in the wider Arab world – for the military action we are taking. It has saved lives, and it is saving lives,” Cameron added.

During the conference, Qatar offered to facilitate the sale Libyan oil. Such sales would be consistent with the UN Security Council resolutions and support the people of Libya in meeting their humanitarian needs.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that the subject of arming Libyan rebels did not come up at the conference. Libya is under a UN-mandated arms embargo, Hague said, adding that the restrictions “in our view apply to the whole of Libya.”

LONDON, March 29 (RIA Novosti)

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