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Arab League to Hold Crisis Talks on Libya Saturday

Arab foreign ministers are to hold crisis talks on Saturday to discuss imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, Arab League officials said, as Libyan jets keep up near daily strikes to crush a rebellion.

The meeting was initially scheduled for Friday, but was postponed a day after requests from several foreign ministers, deputy secretary general Ahmed Ben Hilli told reporters.

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Libya No-Fly Zone Calls Mount as New Battles Loom

Libya's air force stepped up air strikes and heavy shelling was heard on Tuesday on the front line, as the revolt against Moammar Gadhafi's regime entered its third week amid mounting calls for a no-fly zone over the country.

As the violence escalated, the Arab League said foreign ministers of its member states would meet on Saturday for crisis talks on the situation, a day later than originally announced.

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Gulf States Call for U.N. No-Fly Zone over Libya, Urgent Arab Summit

Gulf Arab states announced their support for imposing a no-fly zone over Libya in a statement on Monday, amid divisions among the major powers over military intervention in the North African nation.

"The Gulf Cooperation Council demands that the U.N. Security Council take all necessary measures to protect civilians, including enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya," the six-nation bloc's statement said.

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Britain, France Preparing U.N. Resolution on Libya No-Fly Zone

British Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed Monday that Britain was working to draft a U.N. resolution on a no-fly zone over Libya to counter Moammar Gadhafi's offensive against rebels, but said it must have regional support and a "clear legal basis".

"At the U.N. Security Council we are working closely with partners on a contingency basis on elements of a resolution on a no-fly zone, making clear the need for regional support, a clear trigger for such a resolution and an appropriate legal basis," Hague told lawmakers in the House of Commons.

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Lebanese in Libya Return to Lebanon through Istanbul, Alexandria, Latakia

The foreign ministry is monitoring the evacuation process of Lebanese from Libya, announcing that 21 citizens and five Palestinians have returned to Lebanon onboard a Middle East Airlines plane arriving from Istanbul, reported the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat Monday.

It said in a statement on Sunday that the Lebanese and other nationalities are being evacuated from Libya by ship and are being sent to ports in Turkey, Syria, and Egypt.

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Gadhafi Accuses France of 'Interference'

Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi accused France of interference in the country's internal affairs and blamed Al-Qaeda for the revolt against his regime, in an interview aired Monday by France24 television.

When asked about France's backing for the national council -- the embryonic provisional government formed by rebels in the second city of Benghazi -- Gadhafi said: "It makes one laugh, this interference in internal affairs.

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France Hails Libyan Uprising's 'National Council'

France hailed Sunday the creation of a Libyan "National Council" by the leaders of the armed revolt against Moammer Gadhafi, and said it supported its objectives.

The council met on Saturday in the rebel-held city of Benghazi in eastern Libya, declaring itself the sole representative body for all of Libya, despite Gadhafi's continued control of the capital and much of the West.

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Libya Rebels Say They 'Refused' Talks with British Delegation

Libyan rebels had refused to talk to a British delegation who entered the country without prior arrangement and who were being sent back to London, the rebels' national council said on Sunday.

"We do not know the nature of their mission. We refused to discuss anything with them due to the way they entered the country," spokesman Abdul Hafiz Ghoqa told reporters in the rebel stronghold Benghazi.

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Libya Rebels Say They 'Refused' Talks with British Delegation

Libyan rebels had refused to talk to a British delegation who entered the country without prior arrangement and who were being sent back to London, the rebels' national council said on Sunday.

"We do not know the nature of their mission. We refused to discuss anything with them due to the way they entered the country," spokesman Abdul Hafiz Ghoqa told reporters in the rebel stronghold Benghazi.

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In Egypt, French FM Says Libya Armed Intervention Would Be 'Absolutely Negative'

Any international military intervention in Libya would have "absolutely negative" effects, France's Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Sunday during a visit to neighbor Egypt.

"France, as well as many of its partners, is not in favor of any Western military intervention in Libya, which would have absolutely negative effects," Juppe told a news conference in Cairo.

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