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article imageWilliam Hague speaks at first Libya contact group summit

By Jane Fazackarley     Apr 13, 2011 in World
Foreign Secretary William Hague travelled to Doha, Qatar, today for the first meeting of the Libya Contact Group, which has been set up to help co-ordinate the assistance that Libya will need to shape its future
The Contact Group was first announced last month at a conference in London which was hosted by David Cameron.
Before the summit William Hague said:
"We continue to broaden and deepen the international coalition. There will be many Arab nations as well as NATO nations gathered here today; we're expecting the African Union also at this meeting whereas they were not at the London conference a couple of weeks ago. The opposition side in Libya are also becoming steadily better organised."
Commenting on the implementation of the no-fly zone Hague said:
"Unless we had acted that day, on that Saturday in March, many thousands of people would have been killed, there would have been a humanitarian crisis costing us a great deal more than this situation with all the destabilising consequences for Egypt and Tunisia as well. So that is why we acted hastily and now we will follow it through to success."
Talking at the meeting the Foreign Secretary made it clear that the international community are committed to help the people of Libya build a better future. Hague stated that "the countries gathered here today have demonstrated their powerful determination to implement in full UNSCRs 1970 and 1973" and said the military action would continue while Qadhafi remained a threat to his own people.
Commenting on the humanitarian suffering, Hague said that the United Nations (UN) should "should take the lead role in framing a robust international response". Plans to set up a Temporary Financial Mechanism, which would give funding to the Libyan rebels,were also discussed.
According to the figures from the UN close to 500,000 people are said to have left Libya and over 300,00 have been 'internally displaced'. At today's summit in Doha, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made a plea for the support of a $310m flash appeal to help Libya.
The UN issued a press release on April 11 to update on the humanitarian issue in Libya. 15,000 foreign nationals are said to be stranded at the borders with Egypt and Tunisia, 100,000 people are said to want to be evacuated from Misrata.
At the summit, William Hague reiterated his calls for Qadhafi to step down saying:
"Our message today is loud and strong. Qadhafi must go. We support the Libyan people’s yearning for a better future. And we are working to help them build that future."
More about William Hague, Libya, contact group, Doha, Qadhafi
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