FM on BBC: Violence in Libya must cease immediately

Greek foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas said that Athens had given a "clear" message to Libyan emissary Mohamed Tahir Siala on Thursday in Athens that the violence in Libya must cease immediately, while he also stressed the need for the EU and the international community to take measures against the Gaddafi regime, during a BBC radio interview on Friday.

Droutsas further called for dialogue with the rebel forces in Libya, but warned that recognition was "premature" at this stage.

On Sialas' visit to Athens, Droutsas said it took place after agreement with EU High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy Baroness Catherine Ashton for the purpose of finding out the Gaddafi regime's intentions and to send a very clear message that the violence must cease immediately and that Libya must comply with the recent UN Security Council resolution.

Droutsas said that Sialas reiterated Gaddafi's formal statements, noting that the emissary visited other countries in the Mediterranean as well for similar talks.

He noted that there are indications that the Libyan regime has shown "a willingness" to talk with the rebels, "but we, as the EU and the international community, must take all the necessary measures so that everyone will understand, and the Gaddafi regime will realise, that the violence must stop immediately".

"We have to be realists," he said, adding that at this time specific measures are necessary so that Gaddafi and his regime will realise that they must step down from authority.

Droutsas expressed reservations, however, on recognition of the rebel forces holding Benghazi, warning that it was a bit early for such a step and elaborating that "we must first see who they are".

"We should have contact with them, directly as the EU, and hold a dialogue with them, we need to get to know them better and then take the necessary steps," the Greek foreign minister said.

He added that one of the issues that will be discussed at an emergency EU summit in Brussels is that of direct talks with the rebels in order to see precisely how the situation stands.

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