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Libyan envoy on truce mission in Europe

A Libyan envoy has arrived in Turkey, the next stop on a diplomatic mission in Europe to try and reach a ceasefire. Meanwhile, the so-called contact group on Libya is due to meet for the first time next week.

Libyan deputy foreign minister, Greek prime minister

Libya's deputy foreign minister is on a truce mission to Europe

Libya on Monday continued its diplomatic push to find a resolution to the crisis gripping the country as Deputy Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi arrived in Turkey for talks with the government there.

"We will do our best so that the suffering in Libya comes to an end in the shortest possible time and that a road map is outlined in a way that would include political changes in line with the demands of the Libyan people," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi

The contact group on Libya is making post-Gadhafi plans

He added that Turkey would also host representatives of Libya's opposition Transitional National Council "in the coming days."

Obeidi is set to continue his diplomatic tour-de-force in Malta on Tuesday, following talks on Sunday in Greece where he told Prime Minister George Papandreou that Tripoli wanted fighting with rebels in the east of the country to end.

"It seems that the Libyan authorities are seeking a solution," said Greek Foreign Minister Dimitiris Droutsas.

Italy, a former colonial power in Libya, on Monday joined France and Qatar in recognizing the rebels' Transitional National Council. Rome also said it would send ships and planes to evacuate wounded people from Libya's third city, Misrata, which has been under siege and and a campaign of shelling for the past several weeks.

Post-Gadhafi political process

Meanwhile, the international so-called contact group on Libya is set to meet for the first time next week in Qatar's capital Doha, according to British Foreign Secretary William Hague. The group was established last week at an international conference on Libya hosted by Britain and aims to lay the groundwork for a political process after leader Moammar Gadhafi leaves power.

A Tornado in flight

More Tornado planes are being sent to operate over Libya

Hague also told parliament that Britain intended to supply Libya's rebels with equipment to help them become more effective against Gadhafi's troops. "We are prepared to supply non-lethal equipment which will help with the protection of civilian lives and the delivery of humanitarian aid," he said.

Britain boosts air cover

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday announced reinforcements to British fighter jets in action over Libya. While visiting an air base hosting British planes in southern Italy, Cameron said four new Tornado fighter planes would be deployed, claiming that British jets had saved "literally thousands of lives in Benghazi and elsewhere in Libya."

As fierce battles continued between rebels and Gadhafi forces, a Turkish ship sailed into port in Libya's third-largest city Misrata on Sunday picking up some 250 wounded people injured during a siege and shelling of the city that has lasted for several weeks. The vessel had to leave early after crowd of people desperate to escape the city pressed to be allowed aboard.

The ship arrived under air cover from Turkish fighter planes and naval backup. It went on to pick up another 100 injured people from the eastern city of Benghazi before returning to Turkey.

Author: Rob Mudge, Richard Connor (dpa, Reuters, AFP)
Editor: Martin Kuebler

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