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Juppe believes Libyan leader won''t leave power voluntarily

PARIS, July 11 (KUNA) -- French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Monday that he does not believe Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi will leave power "spontaneously" or voluntarily but he remains cautiously optimistic the crisis can be ended before the holy month of Ramadan in August.
In a radio interview with "France Info," Juppe said that military and diplomatic pressure must be maintained to force the Libyan leader from power.
Asked if he thought the conflict would be over before August, the Foreign Minister said: he was "optimistic, with caution." "I think Gaddafi will not leave spontaneously. It is therefore necessary to continue to exert military pressure on him but also diplomatic pressure." He maintained many African leaders conceded that the Libyan leader must be removed and sidelined, but he acknowledged these leaders were not saying so publicly.
He remarked, however, that the African Union (AU) nations were taking initiatives that could help find a resolution to the conflict.
From the diplomatic point of view, "the help of the African Union can be extremely important. After that, I would refrain from giving time-frames, but I believe we are trying to work within a tight agenda," Juppe said.
The Contact Group on Libya is due to meet in Istanbul on July 15 to review the situation and discuss future strategy in Libya.
Separately, France denied on Monday it had "direct negotiations" with the Gaddafi regime, but admitted to sending messages to Tripoli, after discussing them with the National Transition Council and NATO and other allies.
French officials said that the messages were "simple and unambiguous" and said clearly that Gaddafi no longer was part of the political landscape and must be sidelined in any negotiations. (end) jk.bs KUNA 112001 Jul 11NNNN