As NATO prepares to take control of enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya, an alliance source indicated the mission itself could last three months.
For now, NATO won’t assume full command of UN-backed military operations but a decision could be made on Sunday to broaden its mandate.
At the EU summit in Brussels, France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy said the solution could not only be military.
“It will inevitably be political and diplomatic, too, even if the military option has become unavoidable because of Mr Gaddafi’s inability to listen to reasonable propositions,” he said.
The EU says it is ready to adopt new sanctions against the Libyan regime, including targeting its oil revenue.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Politically, the EU has now agreed to find ways to support the Libyan people’s aspiratons for more democratic and open government; practically, we will provide humanitarian assistance to all those affected; and militarily, we now see a strong and broad European contribution.”
French and Turkish concerns held up the decision for NATO to take a bigger role. A summit on Tuesday in London is set to create a contact group to oversee the operation as a whole, with Arab states likely to be included.