The international “contact group” that is meeting in Qatar to discuss the crisis in Libya has agreed to establish a temporary “trust fund” that will be used to move financial assistance to rebel groups seeking to topple Moammar Gaddafi.
In statement, the delegates again urged Gaddafi to step down after more than four decades as Libya’s leader.
Gaddafi and his regime has lost all legitimacy and he must leave power allowing the Libyan people to determine their own future, the group said.
Opening the summit, the Qatari crown prince Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani described Libya as a humanitarian crisis. The suffering of the Libyan people is not a natural disaster - it is the outcome of political decisions and political behavior. The Libyan people are not begging - they are a great people with great resources but they have been prevented from exercising their rights and developing their resources.
The Benghazi-based Libyan opposition group, Transitional National Council (officials of which are also at the Qatar summit) has reiterated stated that they will accept no compromise solution to the crisis that would keep Gaddafi or any of his sons in power.
A peace proposal by members of the African Union (AU) has already been rejected by the rebels since it did not provide for an immediate exit for Gaddafi.
Meanwhile, the Qatar delegates are sparring over whether or not their respective countries should provide weapons to Libyan rebels.
Germany and Belgium, for instance, are opposed to giving arms to the opposition, while Italy, France and UK are in favor of it.
A spokesman for the Italian foreign ministry spokesman said: The discussion about arming the rebels is definitely on the table ... to defend themselves. The UN resolution ... does not forbid arming [rebels fighting Gaddafi]. We need to provide the rebels all possible defensive means, he said, singling out communication and intelligence equipment.
However, Steven Vanackere, the Belgian Foreign Minister, said he opposes the idea.
The UN resolution speaks about protecting civilians, not arming them, he said.
An Al Jazeera correspondent at the summit said: I spoke to the German foreign minister [Guido Westerwelle] and he had concerns over whether it was legal or not. Statements from the UK and Qatar have agreed that the situation in Benghazi is urgent. And most is due to a lack of cash - it's not all about heavy weapons for frontline fighters; it's also about being able to pay public servants and getting schools back open.
William Hague, the UK foreign secretary and co-chair of the Qatar summit said: We should ... move forward quickly to ensure that nations wishing to support the interim National Council in meeting its public sector costs can do so in a transparent manner.”
Also attending the Qatar summit, UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon warned of a worsening crisis in Libya.
Under our worst-case scenario, as many 3.6 million people could eventually require humanitarian assistance, he told delegates. [Libya has a population of six million].
Ban also said that almost half a million people have departed Libya since the crisis erupted.
On average, 2,700 people cross to Tunisia and Egypt every day,” he said. ”Roughly 330,000 people have been internally displaced.