Talks held on Libya power transfer
Figures inside dictator Muammar Gaddafi's Libyan regime are in talks about a possible transfer of power in the strife-torn country, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.
News of the potentially key development came at the end of a summit in Abu Dhabi.
Mrs Clinton told a news conference: "There have been numerous and continuing discussions by people close to Gaddafi and we are aware that those discussions include, among other matters, the potential for a transition." She gave no further details, other than to say: "There is not any clear way forward yet."
The summit also saw a number of Arab states pledge funding to help the opposition National Transitional Council. The money would finance services within liberated parts of the North African country.
The meeting of the Libya Contact Group came as International Criminal Court investigators alleged that Gaddafi had ordered troops to rape female opponents - with evidence existing of the regime acquiring Viagra-type drugs to assist them.
Britain welcomed the "very substantial" financial support for the NTC, whose representatives presented the meeting with details of their plans for a post-Gaddafi settlement.
Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said the Nato-led military operation to protect civilians from Gaddafi's forces would continue to intensify pressure on the regime under the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1973.
"The pressure will continue, within the constraints of the coalition forces. This will continue and intensify," said Mr Burt.
Britain welcomed the attendance for the first time at the meeting of South Africa and Egypt as a sign of growing African and Arab support for the international community's action in Libya.
Mr Burt said: "There is a powerful and ever growing consensus that the time has come to open a new chapter in Libya's history. Gaddafi's regime is crumbling. He has lost all legitimacy and must go immediately."