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Libya's Foreign Minister Seeks 'Political Solution'

Libya's foreign minister expressed hopes for a "political solution" to end the two-month conflict in his country, his Cypriot counterpart said after the pair held talks on Thursday.

Abdelati Laabidi reiterated a "commitment to the initiative of the African Union and the wish for a political solution to be achieved," Cypriot Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou told reporters in Nicosia.

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Libyan Deputy FM: Hizbullah, Amal are Helping Rebels

Libya's deputy foreign minister, Khaled Kaim, has accused Hizbullah of joining the ranks of the rebels fighting against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.

Kaim claimed Wednesday that several members of Hizbullah are fighting alongside the rebels in Misrata, but did not provide evidence.

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World Offers Cash, Defense Means to Gadhafi Foes

World powers offered cash to Libya's rebels and the means "to defend themselves" as they issued fresh demands for strongman Moammar Gadhafi to relinquish power, at a meeting in Doha on Wednesday.

In a final statement after the day-long gathering, the international contact group on Libya decided to set up a "temporary financial mechanism" to aid the rebels seeking to oust Gadhafi.

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Talk of Gadhafi Stepping Down 'Ridiculous', Says His Son

Libyan leader Moammer Gadhafi's son Seif al-Islam admitted Monday that it was time for "new blood" in his country's leadership but said talk of his father stepping down was "ridiculous".

"The Libyan Guide does not want to control everything. He is at an advanced age. We would like to bring a new elite of young people onto the scene to lead the country and direct local affairs," Seif told French network BFM.

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Libya Rebels Reject Truce Plan, Say Gadhafi Must Go

Libyan rebels on Monday rejected an African Union initiative for a ceasefire accepted by Moammar Gadhafi, and said the only acceptable solution was the ouster of the veteran strongman.

The rebel rejection came after NATO chiefs warned that any deal must be "credible and verifiable," and as alliance warplanes were again in operation against Gadhafi armor pounding the cities of Ajdabiya and Misrata.

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Libyan Rebels Reject to Ceasefire without Gadhafi Pullback

Libyan rebels said Monday that any ceasefire would require the withdrawal of government troops from the streets and freedom of expression, as African mediators were due in their stronghold.

"The people must be allowed to go into the streets to express their opinion and the soldiers must return to their barracks," Shamsiddin Abdulmolah, a spokesman for the rebels' Transitional National Council, told Agence France Presse.

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Oil Down in Asia on Profit-Taking

World oil prices fell in Asian trade Thursday as investors continued to lock in profits from recent gains and Libyan rebels exported the country's first crude shipment from a region that they control, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for May, pulled back 39 cents to $108.44 per barrel after crossing $109 for the first time in two-and-a-half years in U.S. trade Wednesday.

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Libya Contact Group to Meet April 13 in Doha

The international contact group on Libya will meet on April 13 in the Qatari capital Doha, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Thursday.

France is trying "to convince the African Union to be present in Qatar next week because that's where the contact group is to meet on April 13," Juppe told lawmakers.

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Under-Fire NATO Vows to Protect Libya Civilians

NATO, accused of mission failure by Libyan rebels, admitted Wednesday it has to be "particularly careful" with its air strikes as government troops are using civilians as human shields, but vowed to do everything to protect civilians in Misrata.

France pledged to open a sea corridor to the besieged Mediterranean port and rebels played down losing considerable ground to government forces as just the usual stakes in desert warfare.

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Gadhafi Sends Message to Obama

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Wednesday sent a message to U.S. President Barack Obama, following the withdrawal of American warplanes from Libya, the official Libyan news agency JANA said.

"The leader of the revolution (Gadhafi) sent on Wednesday a message to U.S. President Barack Obama after the United States withdrew from the aggressive, colonialist coalition crusading against Libya," said the agency without specifying the contents of the message.

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