The African Union hopes a document it has drawn up on Libya will form a base for negotiations between government and rebels.
But it remains non-committal on whether Colonel Gaddafi has a future role. Some countries wanted a firmer stance, and some diplomats doubt the text will be applied.
The summit in Equatorial Guinea called for the deployment of a multinational force sanctioned by the UN.
Some believe the AU should be more pro-active in tackling crises not just in Libya, but in Ivory Coast, Sudan, Somalia and elsewhere.
“All these crises should be tackled at a precise moment where Africa, like all continents, had points of view which are not really identical. And so, after a long debate and negotiations, we had to move towards a common position,” said African Union Commissionner Jean Ping.
The South African president Jacob Zuma said soon the AU would soon preside over talks on Libya. Some play down the apparent ambiguity over Gaddafi.
“Now I can say: not the majority, (but) a lot of states are openly with us. They said even in the closed session that Gaddafi should step down, and go out. But no-one is supporting Gaddafi, no-one indoors or outdoors,” said
Abderrahman Chalgham of the Libyan National Transitional Council.
euronews correspondent François Chignac, at the summit in Malabo, said:
“The aim of the 17th African Union summit consisted of sweeping away the disagreements which had emerged over Libya’s case. So over two days, African leaders debated, some put forward suggestions, others clashed with each other. But in the end, they managed to adopt a common position.”