Highlights: EU leaders' comments after summit on Libya

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Posted: Mar 22, 2011 11:21 AM
Highlights: EU leaders' comments after summit on Libya

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders met in Brussels on Friday to discuss the situation in Libya and other countries in North Africa.

Following are some of their comments after the talks:

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL

ON LIBYA SUMMIT PROPOSAL:

"We agreed to set up a three-way summit with the African Union, the Arab League and the European Union, because we want to work hand in hand with all the regional organisations and we also of course expect these regional organisations to make their contribution."

ON LIBYAN LEADER MUAMMAR GADDAFI AND SANCTIONS:

"We want the dictator Gaddafi to step down. He is no legitimate interlocutor for us because he is waging war against his own people.

"So we want to try how the EU can introduce further sanctions especially in the financial and economic area, to make it clear that Mr Gaddafi's regime does not have our support and that he is no longer a valid interlocutor for us."

ON OPPOSITION LIBYAN NATIONAL COUNCIL:

"Secondly we said that we accept the (Libyan National) Council as interlocutor and that we -- including the German government -- have made contact with them. That does not constitute recognition as the only interlocutor, but they are an interlocutor with whom we can discuss certain situations."

FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY

ON HIS DISCUSSIONS WITH BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID

CAMERON:

"We are very satisfied, Mr Cameron and I, that the European Council's text expresses extreme concern about the air attacks and says that to protect the civilian population the member states will consider all the necessary options.

"And you understand that all the options considered by the member states in this case are not only diplomatic."

ON OPTIONS UNDER CONSIDERATION, INCLUDING MILITARY:

"Nobody wants it, but it is clear that Europe is sending a signal and did not want to exclude this option... Nobody is favorable to the military option."

ON LIBYAN LEADER MUAMMAR GADDAFI:

"Mr Gaddafi is no longer an interlocutor for Europe.

"The European Council decided ... to welcome and encourage the transitional (Libyan) National Council based in Benghazi, which it from now on considers to be a political interlocutor."

ON HUMANITARIAN SUPPORT:

"The (European) Council has decided that the European Union will allow access to humanitarian agencies and actors to humanitarian zones in places that we did not specify to deal with displaced persons (but) at first in Tunisia and Egypt. We would like these humanitarian zones to then exist in Libya, to deal with the tens of thousands of displaced people."

ON GADDAFI'S FUTURE:

"We consider that if Gaddafi stays in place, it would be a bad sign for countries in the region."

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON

ON OIL MONEY FLOWING TO LIBYAN LEADER MUAMMAR GADDAFI:

"There is also consideration being given -- because the point was made very powerfully by (EU foreign policy chief) Cathy Ashton -- that this regime is still in receipt of a huge amount of money, including oil money, and so we do need to look at that whole question.

"It's a complicated ... question about how revenues flow, who they flow to, whether they are flowing into Gaddafi's hands or whether, as many of the oil fields are actually in rebel held territory... It's a complicated question but one the international community needs to get right."

EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT HERMAN VAN ROMPUY

ON LIBYAN LEADERS:

"We have made clear to the Libyan authorities that the use of force against citizens must stop. Those responsible will face grave consequences. The current leadership must give up power without delay.

"All 27 (European leaders) say it loud and clear. We have the situation under constant review and will keep up the pressure.

"The European Council welcomes and encourages the interim transitional National Council based in Benghazi, which is considered a political interlocutor."

ON OPTIONS FOR EU:

"Member states will examine all necessary options provided that there is a demonstrable need, a clear legal basis and support from the region. Those responsible will be held accountable and face grave consequences."

ON SUMMIT WITH ARAB LEAGUE AND AFRICAN UNION:

"We work with the United Nations, the Arab League, the African Union and all international partners to respond to the crisis.

"We call for the rapid holding of a summit between the Arab League, the African Union and the European Union."

ON THE OPPOSITION LIBYAN NATIONAL COUNCIL:

"We consider them sufficiently reliable to work with. The Council is a reliable interlocutor in our view."

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO

"The problem has a name: Gaddafi. He must go. We have to intensify our international pressure on the current regime to step down.

"We are ready to support democratic transformation. Europe is on the side of those who struggle for more freedom and a better future."

(Reporting by Pete Harrison, Robert-Jan Bartunek and David Brunnstrom in Brussels, Leigh Thomas in Paris and Stephen Brown in Berlin)