World Leaders Agree to Continue Military Action in Libya

Foreign Ministers from 35 countries, including seven Arab states, along with secretary-generals of the UN, NATO and the Islamic Conference, yesterday met in London to discuss military action in Libya and to plan a post-AlQathafi future in the North African rich oil country, the Libyan newspaper, The Tripoli Post said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron told the participants that coalition forces will continue their no-fly zone in the oil rich country and that “the Libyan people cannot reach that future on their own,” that is also the reason of the conference.

“Today I believe should be about a new beginning for Libya – a future in which the people of Libya can determine their own destiny, free from violence and oppression,” The Tripoli Post reported.

In a statement released by Foreign Secretary William Hague, who chaired the conference, said world powers agreed to implement United Nations Security Council resolutions on Libya and that military action would continue until the conditions of the resolution were met. He therefore, called for an immediate ceasefire by Al Gadafi’s regime forces.

However, according to the Tripoli Post, Mr Hugue said a Libya Contact Group is now being created to co-ordinate international support for the people of Libya. The new group’s first meeting will be chaired by Arab state Qatar “as soon as possible”, Mr Hague said.

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, told the conference that coalition military strikes would continue until Muammar Al Qathafi, “fully complies with UN demands to end violence against civilians.”

She said the international community would work to boost pressure on and isolate his government to “make clear to Al Qathafi that he must go.” She said that the military action would continue until AL Qathafi stops attacking civilians and allows humanitarian aid to reach his people.

Later, she said that no decision had been made on whether to arm the Libyan opposition.

There will be further sanctions for individuals associated with the regime’s regime, but they said that Qatar’s assistance in the sale of Libyan oil by opposition leaders was consistent with international law.

The Libya Conference came as NATO prepared to take over command and control of military operations in Libya.

As the meeting took place, the Benghazi-based rebels said 124 civilians had been killed during nine days of fighting between opposition forces and Al Qathafi loyalists in the western city of Misurata.

The Libyan opposition said that the meeting should decide to prosecute Al Qathafi for crimes against humanity, rather than offering him exile in an attempt to end his rule.

“He must be charged for crimes against the Libyan people,” rebel spokesman Shamsiddin Abdulmolah said. “This is non-negotiable.”

At the end of the Libya Conference in London, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, who was flanked by Qatar’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hamad Jassem Al Thani said that it was an important day for the future of Libya. “We have seen two key developments today.” First, foreign ministers and leaders from more than 40 countries and organisations attended the conference in London.

He went on to say: “We have certainly widened and deepened the coalition, with a new pledge of support to NATO operations from Sweden, a growing number of countries committed to implementing the UN resolutions on Libya, and agreement on a new Contact Group on Libya.

“Second, Libya’s Interim Transitional National Council have launched here in London their vision for a future Libya that is free, democratic and unified. We have said throughout that we want the Libyan people to be in the lead in determining their future, and today was a significant milestone in that process.

“This comes at a time as when the forces of the Al Qathafi regime continue to shell Libyan civilians in Misrata, Zintan and Rejban in an indiscriminate and brutal manner, underlining why are efforts to protect Libyan citizens must and will continue.

“Participants today have reaffirmed the importance of full and swift implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions, and their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya.

“We have agreed to consider pursuing, in the UN and regional organisations, additional sanctions on individuals and entities associated with the regime. Participants here today are implementing these measures as a clear message to Gaddafi that he cannot attack civilians with impunity.

“We agreed that it is not for any of the participants here today to choose the government of Libya: only the Libyan people can do that. But we agreed that Al Qathafi and his regime have completely lost legitimacy and will be held accountable for their actions.

“We recognised the needs for all Libyans, including the Interim Transitional National Council, tribal leaders and others, to come together to begin an inclusive political process, and we call on the international community to support this process, working closely with the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative Abdul Ilah Mohammed al-Khatib,”

Qatar’s Prime Minister, Al Thani, urged, “ Al Qathafi 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. 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.

At the end of the Conference, world leaders agreed that Muammar Gadafi and his regime have “completely lost legitimacy and will be held accountable for their actions.”

Russia, as well as the African Union, did not attend the London conference, countries such as Qatar who are not NATO members were.

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