Leaders meet: Gaddafi's future uncertain

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Leaders meet: Gaddafi's future uncertain

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Western and Arab leaders are meeting in Istanbul to seek a political end to Libya’s civil war.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton are among the dozen or so foreign ministers participating in Friday’s conference.

The meeting comes amid conflicting signals over whether Muammar Gaddafi intends to surrender power.

Earlier this week, there were signs that the 69-year-old dictator was ready to step down if he could get a deal.

A crucial question, if Gaddaffi does agree to leave office, is whether he would be allowed to stay in Libya or takes refuge in a third country.

British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said that Friday’s meeting was “important to show the commitment of the world and to give the [Gaddafi] regime the sense that it has nowhere to go.”

The popular uprising against Gaddafi’s 41 year rule began in February.

Rebel groups have been advancing towards Tripoli from eastern desert and western mountain regions in a bid to topple him from power.