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Italy Calls For Political Solution In Libya

Libyan men stand during a protest after Friday prayers in Green Square, downtown Tripoli, July 8, 2011
Italy is reportedly calling for a political solution to the conflict in Libya that envisions Muammar Qaddafi "leaving the scene."

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini made the proposal in an interview with Algeria's 'El Khabar' newspaper due to be published today.

Frattini's proposal comes as U.S. President Barack Obama gave his backing to his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev to Russian mediating efforts in Libya if they lead to Qaddafi stepping down, according to the White House.

Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said some NATO allies operating in Libya could soon see their forces beyond the limit of their capabilities.

In New York, the UN peace envoy for Libya urged the government and rebels to turn indirect talks on a settlement into direct ones.

However, Abdul Elah al-Khatib admitted the two sides were still far apart.

The UN envoy's assessment came as France announced it is passing messages to Qaddafi's regime in liaison with the rebel movement and allies.

compiled from agency reports