Deauville: The leaders of the G8 powers were to tell Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi on Friday that he has lost all legitimacy and must step down, according to a draft version of their summit statement.
The leaders were still meeting, and it was not immediately clear if they would authorise the strong language in the draft, with Russia in particular keen to promote a negotiated settlement to the Libya civil conflict.
But the language in the latest draft being circulated among the delegations in the French resort of Deauville early Friday was stark.
"We demand the immediate cessation of the use of force against civilians by the Libyan regime forces as well as the cessation of all incitement to hostility and violence against the civilian population," it said.
"We stress the need to hold to account those responsible for attacks on civilians. These criminal actions will not go unpunished," welcoming the decision of the International Criminal Court to probe Libyan regime leaders.
"Gaddafi and the Libyan government have failed to fulfil their responsibility to protect the Libyan population and have lost all legitimacy. He has no future in a free, democratic Libya. He must go," it warned.
The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States were meeting in the northern French resort of Deauville on the second and final day of the Group of Eight summit.