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Qadhafi Won't Give Up Power - Obeidi to Kyprianou

obeidi in cyprusEmbattled Libyan leader Muamar Qadhafi is not ready to give up power, said new Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi during a meeting with Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou in Nicosia.

Obeidi arrived in Cyprus last night to make diplomatic efforts to drum up support for a ceasefire rather than a full withdrawal from power by Muamar Qadhafi.

According to government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou, the visit was on Obeidi's initiative and follows meetings in Greece, Turkey and Malta.

Qadhafi wants political settlement, not withdrawal

Speaking after the meeting this morning, Kyprianou said that Obeidi had expressed the desire for a political settlement to the crisis in Libya, and that Cyprus had tabled some suggestions which the Libyan had promised to consider. Kyprianou said there was a need for an immediate ceasefire and conveyed the EU's positions on the Libyan civil war.

The foreign minister did not reveal what Cyprus' suggestions are, saying that they still have to be discussed by the Libyans, in comments reported by the state news agency.

Asked whether the Libyan foreign minister sent the message that Qadhafi is ready to give up power, Kyprianou said "no, not that. If you look at the inititive by the African Union, that is their main issue."

Earlier this week, Obeidi took over ex-foreign minister Musa Kusa's job after he defected and flew to the UK.

Coalition wants Qadhafi out

Meanwhile, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague attended the first Contact Group meeting on Libya in Qatar yesterday.

"We should be in no doubt: decisive action by the countries gathered around this table has saved thousands of lives in Benghazi and elsewhere in Libya. We have prevented Colonel Qadhafi’s forces from bombarding Libyan cities from the air, and we have stopped his troops from subjugating the entire country by brute force," said Hague at the meeting.

Hague said that the Contact Group has three main objectives: to maintain pressure on the Qadhafi regime and make it clear that Colonel Qadhafi "must leave power." Planning for stabilisation and peace-building efforts in coordination with the UN is another objective, as well as supporting a political process leading to a democratic Libya.

Britain has provided an additional four RAF Typhoon jets to coalition operations; non-lethal equipment to the Interim National Council to help protect civilian life; a relief ship carrying British-funded humanitarian supplies reached Misrata on 7th April; and has granted temporary admission to Foreign Minister Musa Kusa, "helping those who wish to abandon the regime to do so," he said.

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