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UN Secretary General calls for immediate ceasefire, 'political' solution to Libya crisis

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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called for an immediate ceasefire and a "political" solution to the situation in Libya.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday called for an immediate ceasefire and a "political" solution to the situation in Libya.

"We call for a political process so that the Libyan people can reach their aspirations," Ban said at a conference in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. "We reiterate our call for an immediate ceasefire," he said.

Top Arab, African and European diplomats met on Thursday to discuss ways to resolve the ongoing political crisis in Libya. The Arab League, United Nations, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the African Union and the European Union co-chaired the meeting, which took place at the Arab League's Cairo headquarters.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya on March 17, paving the way for a military operation against embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi which began two days later. The command of the operation was shifted from a U.S.-led international coalition to NATO in late March.

Despite dozens of sorties carried out by NATO aircraft against Gaddafi's forces, the government troops maintain their combat capability and continue to pound poorly-equipped rebels with heavy artillery and rocket fire.

Members of the newly formed Libya Contact Group, who met on Wednesday in the Qatari capital of Doha, agreed to continue to provide the Libyan rebels with "material support" and to consider channeling funds to them.

The participants in the meeting also urged Gaddafi to step down and allow the Libyan people to decide on their own future.

France and Britain said on Tuesday that the allies should intensify their efforts to cripple Gaddafi's war machine.

Gaddafi has accepted an African Union road map to ending the civil war in the North African country, but rebels say they will not compromise on their demand that Gaddafi must go.

CAIRO, April 14 (RIA Novosti)

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