France hosts summit to consider next actions concerning Libya

12:25, March 20, 2011      

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy met with other world leaders Saturday in a multi-nation summit to analyze the situation in Libya and decide what action to take.

Described as "decisive" by French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, the meeting was likely to fix the timing of potential military strikes given Libya's violations of a U.N. resolution calling for a complete cease-fire throughout the embattled North African country.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived for talks with Sarkozy ahead of the summit.

Among others also expected to attend the summit were German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, according to a name list obtained by Xinhua.

A Xinhua reporter at the venue saw UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrive and be welcomed by Sarkozy.

The leaders met as Libyan government forces swarmed into the one-time rebel stronghold of Benghazi -- apparently ignoring an announced cease-fire by the government.

The Saturday meeting took shape further shortly before it was to begin: The African Union was not attending, as had previously been expected, while the Iraqi foreign minister was among those announced as late participants.

French officials have said that they expect military action could begin within hours after the meeting -- but the outcome remained uncertain and it was not clear what effect developments on the ground might have.

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