Military operations in Libya should continue: Italian FM

15:26, July 16, 2011      

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Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi must step down and military operations against Tripoli should continue, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Friday.

"I think military operations should continue but political efforts need to increase as well," Frattini told journalists at the Libya Contact Group meeting in Istanbul, adding "there is no option of Gaddafi remaining in power. Whether he stays in Libya or not after that is open to discussion."

Frattini said the final draft of Friday's Libya Contact Group meeting will include three main items.

"We will only have one channel of negotiation and our united voice will be that of (UN special envoy for Libya) Mr. Abdel Elah al-Khatib," he said, "we will also seek to improve ways to financially assist the (Libyan rebel) Transitional National Council."

"We will try to focus on the reconstruction effort needed for post-Gaddafi Libya," said Frattini.

Italy has agreed to free 100 million euros (141 million U.S. dollars) for the Libyan rebels and will use frozen Libyan funds as the collateral, he said.

A ceasefire is a possibility, he said, adding it is an option for al-Khatib to use in negotiations with the Libyan government.

He also said the UN envoy would work toward forming a board composed of three members from the rebels and three from the Libyan government so that a political process could be worked out.

Source: Xinhua
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