'Kadhafi has lost all legitimacy. He must go': G8 draft

27th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The leaders of the G8 powers were to tell Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi on Friday that he has lost all legitimacy and must step down, according to a draft version of their summit statement.

The leaders were still meeting, but diplomats said the language of the Libya section of their statement was final and even Russia -- which criticised NATO air strikes in Libya -- now agreed that Kadhafi's time had come.

"We demand the immediate cessation of the use of force against civilians by the Libyan regime forces as well as the cessation of all incitement to hostility and violence against the civilian population," the statement said.

"We stress the need to hold to account those responsible for attacks on civilians. These criminal actions will not go unpunished," welcoming the decision of the International Criminal Court to probe Libyan regime leaders.

"Kadhafi and the Libyan government have failed to fulfil their responsibility to protect the Libyan population and have lost all legitimacy. He has no future in a free, democratic Libya. He must go," it warned,

Separately, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said: "Yes, we are ready to admit... he needs to go. We believe that Colonel Kadhafi has forfeited legitimacy due to his actions... indeed we need to help him go."

A US official confirmed Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev had personally told President Barack Obama that Russia now agred Kadhafi had to go, and the Washington delegation appeared highly satisfied with this change of heart.

US officials said the Russian move was prove Obama's "reset" policy of warmer Russian ties was bearing fruit.

The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States were meeting in the northern French resort of Deauville on the second and final day of the Group of Eight summit.

© 2011 AFP

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