Britain seeks broader coalition in Libya

BRITISH Prime Minister David Cameron has told the leaders of the US, Germany and France that today’s London talks on Libya should “broaden the coalition” of nations committed to enforcing UN resolutions.

“The prime minister held a video conference this evening with President (Barack) Obama, President (Nicolas) Sarkozy, and Chancellor (Angela) Merkel to discuss the Middle East,” a spokesman for Cameron’s office said.

During the talks, Cameron said he hoped today’s summit would “strengthen and broaden the coalition of countries committed to implementing the UN resolutions,” the spokesman continued.

More than 35 countries will attend the conference to map out a future for Libya without current leader Muammar Gaddafi, who is under intense pressure as rebels, aided by Western air strikes, continued to gain ground.

Libyan rebels have been stopped in their tracks as forces loyal to Gaddafi launched a fierce attack on their convoy, halting their push forward to Sirte for a second time in the day.

After their rapid progress of the past two days, helped by coalition air raids, the rebel advance westwards towards Tripoli was halted about 140km east of Sirte, which is another 360km east of Tripoli.

Mr Cameron said today’s meeting would “discuss plans for the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance” and “would call for a political process which would allow the people of Libya to shape their own future.

“There was also a discussion of the reform process in Egypt and agreement on the importance of revitalising the Middle East peace process,” the spokesman added.

Ahead of the meeting, Cameron and Sarkozy have issued a joint call for Gaddafi to quit and for Libya’s rebel national council and civil society leaders to steer the country towards democracy.

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