French officials are working behind the scenes with close associates of Moammar Gaddafi in order to convince the Libyan leader that he must step down from power.

Reuters reported that the NATO-led mission of missile attacks on Libya will only be intensified until Gaddafi finally relinquishes power after almost four months of bloodshed in the North African country.

[Gaddafi] is more and more isolated, France’s Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told Europe 1 radio.

There have been more defections around him and we have received messages from his close entourage which has understood that he must leave power. We will increase the military pressure as we have been doing for several days...but at the same time we are talking with everyone who can convince him to leave power.”

A wave of defections, including the former oil minister Shokri Ghanem, has left Gaddafi more and more isolated.

NATO’s plan to continue bombarding military targets in Libya was recently extended for another 90 days from the end of June.

Libyan rebels, who are based in Benghazi and are believed to control the eastern part of the country, have long demanded that Gaddafi must resign before they agree to any peace resolution or ceasefire.

However, Gaddafi reportedly told South African President Jacob Zuma during the latter’s peace trip to Tripoli that he will not step down.