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French, British Foreign Ministers Say NATO Should Do More In Libya

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe

The French and British foreign ministers today said NATO should do more to protect Libyan civilians from attacks by Muammar Qaddafi's forces.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe today said NATO was not doing enough to prevent Qaddafi's forces from shelling rebel-held cities with heavy artillery.

"NATO must play its role fully," he told French radio.

"NATO wanted to take the lead in operations, we accepted it. It must play its role now, which means preventing Qaddafi from using heavy weapons again to bombard the [civilian] population."

Arriving for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg today, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said NATO must "maintain and intensify" its efforts.

Despite NATO air raids, Libyan government forces have pushed back rebels fighting to end Qaddafi's 40-year rule.

The situation in Libya is expected to be high on the agenda of the EU meeting in Luxembourg today and a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Berlin on Thursday.

In a related development, the British government said former Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa is leaving London today to travel to Qatar for talks ahead of a meeting that is going to be held there by an international contact group on Libya.

Koussa, the most prominent defector from Muammar Qaddafi's regime, fled to Britain last month.

Earlier today, Koussa warned that Libya could become like war-torn Somalia unless all sides stop the current conflict in the country from descending into civil war.

Libya's rebels have said that the former foreign minister will not be representing them at the Qatar talks.

compiled from agency reports