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NATO Ministers To Discuss Libya Conflict

NATO's role in the conflict in Libya is expected to head the agenda when foreign ministers of the 28 NATO member states open a two-day meeting in the German capital, Berlin.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to join her European, Canadian and Turkish counterparts for talks on what NATO should do next to end the apparent stalemate between Muammar Qaddafi's forces and rebels trying to topple the regime of the longtime Libyan ruler.

Ahead of the NATO meeting, a French official said France and Britain had agreed to try to pressure their NATO partners to contribute more forces to carrying out air strikes on Qaddafi's forces.

NATO two weeks ago took over from the United States leadership of the United Nations Security Council-backed mission to enforce a no-fly zone and protect Libyan civilians.

But the past few weeks of NATO strikes, carried out mainy by French and British warplanes, have failed to definitively tip the conflict in favor of the rebels, nor ended attacks by Qaddafi's forces on the besieged city of Misrata.

NATO members Germany and Turkey have opposed intervention in the Libyan conflict.

On April 13, international leaders concluded a meeting in Qatar with a call for Qaddafi to leave power and allow Libyans to determine their own future, saying he and his regime have "lost all legitimacy."

Participants also said they would work to set up a financial mechanism to help rebels who are fighting to end Qaddafi's 42-year rule run the eastern region they control. They also called for a political settlement to be decided by the Libyan people.

Rebels attending the Doha meeting said they expected more support, saying NATO was using "minimum" power and needed to step up attacks on Qaddafi's heavy weapons.

compiled from agency reports