Sarkozy slams 'irresponsible and desperate' Kadhafi
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday condemned Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi's "criminal and cynical" attempt to cling to power despite the apparent collapse of his regime.
"As battlefield developments and defections from his camp confirm that Kadhafi's end is inevitable and close, the president condemns Colonel Kadhafi's irresponsible and desperate calls for the combat to continue," Sarkozy's office said.
Sarkozy urged "forces still loyal to the regime to turn away from the criminal and cynical blindness of their leader, to cease fire, put down their arms and put themselves at the disposal of the legitimate Libyan authorities."
France recognises the Benghazi-based revolutionary movement the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the legitimate authority in Libya.
Sarkozy's office said he had invited the prime minister of the NTC to meet him in Paris on Wednesday while France also said it plans to host a meeting of world powers implicated in the Libyan conflict next week.
In the statement, the French leader said he had talked to Mahmud Jibril by telephone and praised "the determination and courage of the leaders and fighters of the NTC and of all Libyans who rose in revolt.
"As a new phase of transition is to begin, the president invites all Libyans to take part in a spirit of reconciliation and unity, with the aim of laying the foundations of new and democratic Libya, where everyone's rights are respected and the Libyan people as a whole and each of its composing parts feel respected," Sarkozy said.
Sarkozy later spoke by telephone with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and British Prime Minister David Cameron, his office said.
Sarkozy and Ban agreed that "the United Nations, if the legitimate Libyan authorities wish it, will have an important role to play during the transition phase that is opening," the French presidency said.
With Cameron, the two leaders agreed to continue their common efforts "in support of the legitimate Libyan authorities as long as Colonel Kadhafi refuses to surrender."
The two also called for the post-Kadhafi transition to take place in "a spirit of reconciliation and national unity."
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe meanwhile said the fall of Kadhafi's regime would be a signal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose crackdown on dissent there has cost more than 2,200 lives.
"I think this will have significant consequences for Syria," Juppe told France's TF1 television. "We can clearly see that today a dictatorial regime can no longer hold on to power against all odds and against the aspirations of its people."
He said there would be no military intervention in Syria, "but we will increase our pressure. I think that Bashar al-Assad will not be able to hold on to power."
© 2011 AFP