France, which has been the most aggressive foreign nation to move against Libya, said it was prepared to discuss providing weapons to the Libyan opposition – even if the UN mandate on Libya did not specifically provide for this feature.
France’s foreign minister, Alain Juppe: I remind you it is not part of the UN resolution, which France sticks to, but we are ready to discuss it [arming] with our partners.
However, William Hague, the British foreign secretary, indicated that the ministers at the summit did not discuss arming the Libyan rebels, citing that Libya was under an arms embargo mandated by the UN.
The US secretary of state, Hilary Clinton, said she is mulling methods extending financial assistance to the Libyan opposition, but not the transfer of arms. However, she added that she thinks the UN mandate might permit for a legitimate transfer of arms if a country were to choose to do that.
Juppe’s comments came at the conclusion of a summit meeting in London in which Western and Arab nations discussed Libya’s future.
Separately, the London parley has agreed to establish a committee that will hold its first meeting in Doha, Qatar to conceive a post-Gaddafi landscape in the North African Country.
Participants of the conference agreed to establish the Libya Contact Group, said a statement issued by Hague.
This contact group will provide leadership and overall political direction to the international effort in close coordination with the UN, [African Union], Arab League, [Organization of the Islamic Conference] and [European Union] to support Libya, the statement said.
Hague added that Qatar has agreed to convene the first meeting of the group as soon as possible.
Following the first Qatar meeting, leadership of the group will rotate from country to country.
The London meeting comprised ministers from more than three dozen nations, as well as officials from the United Nations and NATO.
After the meeting, Hague appeared jointly with the Qatari Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jassim Al Thani, in which they urged Gaddafi to relinquish power in order to put an end to the bloody war in Libya.
We urge Gaddafi and his people to leave, Al Thani told the news conference.
I think this is the only solution to sort this problem as soon as possible. Right now we don't see any indication of that. But this hope which we offer now might not be on the table after a few days. I'm not warning anybody here, but I am trying to stop the bloodshed as soon as possible.
Thus far only France and Qatar -- with the backing of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – have formally recognized the Libyan rebel group as a legitimate government of Libya.
Hague of Britain said while Libyan transitional council is an important and legitimate political interlocutor, nonetheless the UK is seeking to establish relationships with a wide range of members of the Libyan opposition.