EU summit to demand Gaddafi`s instant departure

EU is to demand Gaddafi`s immediate step down when they hold a summit Friday.

Last Updated: Mar 09, 2011, 23:06 PM IST

Brussels: The European Union is to demand that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi hand over power immediately when they hold a summit Friday, draft documents show.

The EU has reacted with alarm to the outbreak of fighting - verging on civil war - in Libya, and has called an emergency meeting of foreign ministers for Thursday and an emergency summit Friday.

"Colonel Gaddafi must relinquish power immediately," reads a draft summit statement prepared by officials in Brussels ahead of both meetings and seen by DPA.

Once Gaddafi steps down, "Libya should rapidly embark on an orderly transition to democracy ... The EU stands ready to engage with the new Libyan authorities in order to help Libya build a constitutional state and the rule of law," the draft reads.

The draft, prepared under the auspices of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, is set to be debated by both foreign ministers and national leaders, and could be substantially rewritten.

Diplomats in Brussels said that the text, which also deals with developments in Egypt and Tunisia, was "extremely sensitive", and likely to be the subject of fierce debate.