Middle-East

France, Britain Mount Pressure on Gaddafi

Paris (Xinhua) — France and Britain have agreed to increase pressure on Muammar Gaddafi’s regime and called for united European response to the recent changes in North African countries, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and his British counterpart William Hague said here on Thursday.

“We consider increasing the pressure to be exerted on the Gaddafi regime to get him to leave the power” with economic and financial pressure, Juppe said at a press conference at the French foreign ministry.

“The crimes that we have seen in Libya have demanded a united response,” the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom Hague said, referring to a UK-French resolution adopted by the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Gadhafi and his family.

“The international community has spoken with one voice” concerning the Libya crisis and “this unity around the world showed the actions in Libya will have real consequences,” Hague said.

Besides talks on the Gaddafi regime, the two ministers also discussed “response to the emerging of humanitarian crisis” in the country, including a NATO proposal to impose a no-fly zone in Libya.

Noting the threat by the Gaddafi regime to bomb the civilian population, both the French and British ministers expressed their approval to the “no-fly zone” plan. “I think that’s a responsible thing to do, I think we are all aligned in supporting that,” Hague said.

“Actually, implementing anything like a no-fly zone must be legal, and must be strongly supported internationally, with participation of many different countries,” Hague added.

Juppe said that Western countries cannot implement the decision on their own because a support from “regional governments” is also needed.

When asked about the possibility of talking with the present Libyan authority, Hague said that efforts have proved to be void. “The speediest way to bring about an end of the bloodshed is for General Gaddafi to leave his seat, that was the easiest and quickest way…”

The two ministers jointly called for an extraordinary session of the European Council on March 11 to focus on “approaches to the Middle East and North Africa.”

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