Kadhafi must go, says contact group meeting in Qatar
Issued on: Modified:
The contact group on Libya meeting in Qatar ended by insisting Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi leave power. In a final statement the group affirmed that Kadhafi's regime has lost all legitimacy and he should leave and allow the Libyan people to decide their future.
In their first appearance on the international scene, the rebel Transitional National Council urged NATO to step up air strikes on Moamer Kadhafi's tanks and missile sites. Foreign relations chief Ali al-Essawi claimed that civilians were not being sufficiently protected.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which has commanded military operations in Libya since the end of last month, says 30 percent of Kadhafi's forces have been destroyed since UN-authorised strikes were launched 19 March.
Essawi also said Libyan rebels were willing to hold talks with "any defector" from Kadhafi's regime, including former foreign minister Mussa Kussa.
Meanwhile, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has warned that as many as 3,6 million people, or more than half of Libya's population, could need humanitarian aid. He said approximately 490,000 people -- almost half a million people -- have left the country since the crisis began.
On Wednesday, a French government-chartered plan carrying 10 tonnes of medical supplies landed in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. The plane also carried members of non-governmental organisations including surgeons and other medical staff.