World powers meet in UK to discuss Libya's future -

World powers meet in UK to discuss Libya's future

LONDON (AP) -- Leaders of Western and Arab nations are to meet in London on Tuesday seeking a possible deal for Moammar Gadhafi's exit from power and an agreement on plans for Libya's future.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Arab League, the African Union and around 40 foreign ministers were scheduled to join the talks, seeking to ratchet up pressure on Gadhafi.
Italy's foreign minister Franco Frattini said several nations planned to put forward a deal which would propose a cease-fire, exile for Gadhafi and a framework for talks, between Libya's tribal leaders and opposition figures, on the country's future.
The meeting -- which will also be attended by NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen -- was also expected to discuss disputes over the scope of NATO-led coalition airstrikes, and to more clearly define the extent of cooperation between Libya's rebel groups and international military commanders.
In a joint statement, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the talks were aimed at sealing support for "Libya's transition from violent dictatorship and to help create the conditions where the people of Libya can choose their own future."
No representative from Libya's opposition was expected to attend the conference, but an official familiar with planning for the talks said an envoy was expected to travel to London to meet with British diplomats on the sidelines. The official demanded anonymity to discuss the meeting with the opposition envoy ahead of a formal announcement.
African Union chairman Jean Ping, Qatar's emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and foreign ministers from Morocco, the UAE, Jordan and Iraq were all also scheduled to join the conference.
Turkey, which has offered to attempt to mediate a permanent cease-fire, said the talks would gauge international support for potential scenarios under which Gadhafi could quit -- including whether he could appoint another regime figure in his place, or negotiate a move into exile.
Frattini said Monday that Europe would look to Libya's neighbors to help Gadhafi relinquish power. "There are some African countries that could offer him hospitality. I hope that the African Union can come up with a valid proposal," he said.
Gadhafi "must understand that it would be a gesture of courage on his part to say 'I am leaving'," Frattini said.
Spain's foreign minister Trinidad Jimenez told state-run TVE television that the meeting would need to reflect on the fact that Libya's rebels are not a completely homogenous group.
"This could include the Interim National Transitional Council -- the pioneering role of which we recognize -- the civil society leaders, as well as all those prepared to join the process of transition to democracy," Sarkozy and Cameron said in their statement.
The two leaders urged Gadhafi loyalists to seize what they said was a final chance to ditch support for the dictator and take a role in planning Libya's future.
Cameron predicted Gadhafi would attempt to complicate discussions at the summit by announcing a new cease-fire in the hours before the talks open, but said the international community would treat such a claim with "heavy skepticism."
"We have got to judge this man by his actions, not by his words," Cameron told the House of Commons on Monday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov -- who will not attend the talks -- said Monday that the international air campaign had breached the terms of the U.N. resolution which authorized the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya.
Cameron insisted that coalition forces had not gone beyond the actions authorized by the U.N., but acknowledged the impact had been to force Gadhafi's military to retreat from a number of key towns.
Sarkozy and Cameron said in their joint statement that the military action would end only when civilians were free from the threat of attack.
Cameron, Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a conference call late Monday with U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss the summit agenda.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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