French, US action continues till Kadhafi downs arms: Sarkozy

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President Nicolas Sarkozy of France said Tuesday he had agreed with his US counterpart Barack Obama to continue military action against Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi until he lays down his weapons.

Sarkozy's Elysee Palace issued the statement as Libyan rebels stormed Kadhafi's fortified headquarters compound in Tripoli, marking a symbolic end to his rule, but with the veteran leader's hiding place still unknown.

"Today, the president spoke for a long time with the president of the United States," the statement said, hailing the apparent victory of the Libyan rebel government in waiting, the National Transitional Council.

"On Libya, they welcomed the decisive progress made in the past few days by the forces of the National Transitional Council and noted that the end of the Kadhafi regime was henceforth inevitable and close," it said.

"They agreed to pursue their military effort in support of the legitimate Libyan authorities for as long as Kadhafi and his clan have not put down their arms," the statement said, referring to the NATO-led bombing campaign.

"As a new phase begins, the two presidents express their intention to rally the international community behind the Libyan people and help it to begin the political transition in a spirit of reconciliation and national unity."

Sarkozy said the goal of French and US efforts was to help build a "new, democratic and pluralist Libya".

The French leader also noted that Obama had welcomed his plan to host a conference of world powers in Paris next week to seek ways of helping the NTC transform its revolution into a stable Libyan government.

© 2011 AFP

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