Middle-East

French, British Leaders Urge Allies to Take United Action on Libya

Paris (Xinhua): French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron issued a joint letter to European Council President Herman van Rompuy Thursday night, calling on allies to take united action on the Libya crisis.

In the letter published by the Elysee Palace, the two leaders declared “it is clear to us that the regime has lost any legitimacy it might have had,” referring to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s authority.

“We support the desire of the Libyans to choose their own leaders and determine their own political system. We welcome the formation of an Interim National Council of Transition (INCT) based in Benghazi. We approach it and its members to develop a cooperative dialogue,” said the letter.

The European Council is scheduled to hold an extraordinary meeting on the situation in Libya on Friday.

The French and British leaders presented seven suggestions in the letter, calling for consensus from European peers, Arab allies and allies in other regions.

The first was calling for the stepping down of “Muammar Gaddafi and his cronies” and firm support to the INCT. “We should send a clear political signal that we regard the Council as a valid political interlocutor, and an important voice for the Libyan people in this phase.”

“A no-fly zone or other options to prevent air attacks” were also included in the plans sought by the two countries, who said they would “work together on the elements of a Security Council resolution.”

The humanitarian issue was also mentioned in the letter. They “urged the United Nations to assess and monitor the humanitarian situation in Libya and to make proposals to ensure full access for humanitarian organizations and assistance to refugees.”

In addition, the two countries “call on all countries to fully implement the arms embargo, including curbing on the provision of armed mercenary personnel.”

Early in the day, France took the lead to recognize the legitimacy of the Libyan National Council established by rebels in Libya’s second largest city of Benghazi, a main base of rebels fighting to oust Gaddafi.

Meanwhile, a Polish minister warned that the Polish government should exercise caution in deciding on a possible recognition of the rebel group in Libya.

Polish European Affairs Minister Mikolaj Dowgielewicz predicted on Thursday that few countries would follow France’s example and recognize the Libyan National Council.

Dowgielewicz, who was attending a Thursday preparatory meeting for the Friday EU summit in Brussels, said: “This is not the right moment to decide about recognizing this or other organization or group (in Libya) to be the partner. The key problem now is to react to the humanitarian issue.”

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