NATO, allies hold contact group meeting on Libya

Updated: 2011-04-13 19:36


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NATO, allies hold contact group meeting on Libya
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (C) stands between to Qatar's Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (L) and Qatar's Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jissim Bin Jabr Al Thani, before a start the first international contact group meeting on Libya in Doha April 13, 2011. [Photo/Agencies] 

DOHA - Foreign diplomats on Wednesday met in Qatar's capital Doha behind closed door to seek a political exit to the crisis in Libya, after an African Union-initiated peace plan was denied by the Libyan rebels.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is present with British Foreign Secretary William Hague and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, as well as envoys from the United States, Arab countries and international organizations.

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Hague said participants would continue to maintain pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to step down.

Libyan rebels seeking international recognition are to tell world powers at the meeting that Gaddafi's removal from power is the only way out of their country's deepening crisis, Al-Jazeera TV reported.

The conference will also discuss the principle put forward by the Libyan Interim Transitional National Council to empower a financial mechanism for the rebels, Hague said.

The meeting came nearly a month after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya and called for "all necessary measures" excluding troops on the ground to protect civilians from attacks.

The Libyan rebels on Monday rejected an African Union-brokered peace deal, saying the initiative fell short of their expectations for Gaddafi to step down.

A Libyan rebel group representative said Wednesday that a delegation from the Libyan Interim Transitional National Council will go to Washington later Wednesday to meet some congressional leaders for support.

The contact group was set up in London at an international ministerial conference on March 29 on the initiative of the British Foreign Minister Hague.

Agenda items at the conference also include plans of humanitarian aid, with the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the International Red Cross being tasked to deploy assessment missions in eastern Libya and rebel- controlled enclaves in the west.



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