World leaders at G8 summit call for Gaddafi to step down




By IANS,

Deauville (France): World leaders at the two-day G8 summit held in France issued a joint call Friday asking the embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to step down.

Of the 25-page communique issued at the end of a two-day summit by the leaders of the US, Russia, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and the Britain, the part that drew the greatest attention was an agreement on all sides - including the Russians - that Col Gaddafi should step down, BBC reported.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in his comments at the end of the summit, said the wording of the communique had been toughened overnight and fully endorsed by the Russians.

It says: "Gaddafi and the Libyan government have failed to fulfil their responsibility to protect the Libyan population and have lost all legitimacy. He has no future in a free, democratic Libya. He must go."

Russia, which has criticised ongoing NATO's campaign in Libya, said it agreed Col Gaddafi had lost all legitimacy.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told a news conference at the end of the gathering in Normandy that he was prepared to mediate Gaddafi's departure. He, however, also said Libya should be preserved as a single state.

US President Barack Obama - after talks about Libya with the French president - said: "We are joined in resolve to finish the job."

In the communique, the G8 also criticised Syria's deadly crackdown on protesters.

The bloc's statement included plans for a $20bn (£12bn) package for Tunisia and Egypt over the next two years.

The communique was issued as Nato reported that government forces had laid landmines in the rebel-held western Libyan city of Misrata.