The European Union’s 27 leaders have said unanimously that the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi must leave power now.
But apart from that, there appeared little consensus at the extraordinary summit in Brussels. France has recognised the National Council of the Libyan rebels and along with Britain talked about ‘targeted defensive action’ against Gaddafi.
Germany said now is not the time for military intervention.
The council president said the message to Gaddafi was loud and clear.
“The current leadership must give up power without delay, the European Council welcomes and encourages the interim transitional National Council based in Benghazi which is considered a political interlocutor,” Herman van Rompuy said.
They also discussed the growing humanitarian fallout from the fighting and the need to care for those who have already fled the violence or are planning to seek refuge out of the country.
“We will step up our cooperation with international humanitarian organisations to alleviate the situation inside Libya and at its borders. We have already freed-up 37 million euros and deployed teams on the ground,” said Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.
He added: “Frontex [the EU border agency] is developing contingency planning to handle a possible larger influx of migrants. We are ready to mobilise additional funds.”
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said contacts with the rebels had already begun but that did not constitute formal recognition of the National Council. She also expressed scepticism about a no-fly zone.