London (Xinhua): Participants attending a London conference on Libya on Tuesday agreed to increase the political and military pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Over 40 foreign ministers and representatives from key regional organizations attended the conference to discuss the situation in Libya and the next steps to resolve the crisis in Libya. They agreed that Gaddafi and the Libyan authorities led by him have completely lost legitimacy and will be held accountable for their actions.
A statement released by British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who chaired the meeting, said that the Libyan people must be free to determine their own future.
Participants recognized the need for all Libyans, including the Interim Transitional National Council, tribal leaders and others, to come together to begin an inclusive political process, consistent with the relevant UN security Council resolutions, through which they can choose their own future.
“We call on the international community to support this process, working closely with the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative Abdel-Elah Mohamed Al-Khatib. Regional actors, particularly Libya’s fellow African countries and Arab neighbors, have an important role to play,” Hague said.
In order to take the move forward, a Libya contact group was agreed upon to provide leadership and overall political direction to the international effort in close coordination with the UN, the African Union and other regional organizations.
In addition, the group will provide a forum for coordinating the international response on Libya and provide a focal point in the international community for contact with the Libyan parties.
Qatar has agreed to convene the first meeting of the Group as soon as possible. Thereafter, the chairmanship will rotate between the countries of the region and beyond it.
The North Atlantic Council, meeting alongside its coalition partners, will provide the executive political direction to NATO operations.
Participants also welcomed UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s offer to lead the coordination of humanitarian assistance and planning for longer-term stabilization support. Turkey, other key regional players and international agencies offered to support this work and take it forward with the Contact Group.
Moreover, Hague said in the statement participants reaffirmed their commitment to full and swift implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on Libya and to continuing military action to enforce them.
Participants reaffirmed their commitment to enforce the restrictions and sanctions on the regime and to act to prevent the supply and operations of mercenaries.
Hague said “We are working together to ensure that all states implement these Resolutions, of which Gaddafi still stands in breach. We agreed to consider pursuing, in the UN and regional organizations, additional sanctions on individuals and entities associated with the regime.”
The statement said the military intervention in Libya had so far been “successful in protecting countless civilians from Gaddafi’s forces and in effectively wiping out Gaddafi’s air capability.”
According to the statement, current and potential contributors to military operations, including NATO Allies, also met to underline their commitment to the necessity of military action to implement fully the provisions of relevant UN resolutions.
They reaffirmed their unified support for this course of action through making effective and sustained contributions to military operations until the international community’s goals are secured.
Participants, including regional states, welcomed NATO’s contribution in agreeing to take on command and control of all military operations to enforce the arms embargo, the no-fly zone, and other actions needed, as authorized in UN resolution 1973 to protect civilians.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the London conference is taking place at a moment of transition, as NATO takes over as leader of the coalition mission, a mission in which the United States will continue to play an active supporting role.
“Some of our coalition partners announced additional support and contributions today, which we welcomed,” she said, adding that no decision had been made on arming Libyan rebels.