Britain, France call on rebels to aid Libya transition

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Britain and France called Monday for the rebel National Transitional Council and civil society leaders to help a Libyan transition towards democracy, saying leader Moamer Kadhafi must go immediately.

"In the words of the Arab League resolution, the current regime has completely lost its legitimacy," said a joint statement from French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

"Kadhafi must therefore go immediately," the statement said, a day before an international conference in London to discuss "a better future for the people of Libya" as Western air power helps rebels make dramatic advances.

"We call on all his followers to leave him before it is too late. We call on all Libyans who believe that Kadhafi is leading Libya into a disaster to take the initiative now to organize a transition process.

"In our view, this could include the Interim National Transitional Council, the pioneering role of which we recognize, the civil society leaders as well as all those prepared to join the process of transition to democracy.

"We encourage them to begin a national political dialogue, leading to a representative process of transition, constitutional reform and preparation for free and fair elections."

Tuesday's meeting will be the first of the "contact group", comprising countries led by France, Britain and the United States which are carrying out military attacks on pro-regime forces, as well as countries that support the action.

© 2011 AFP

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