G8 World Leaders Declare Libya’s Gaddafi Must Step Down

World leaders convening at the G8 summit in France have released a joint statement calling for Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi to step down immediately from power.

The pressure on Gaddafi has been increased as Russia, which originally criticized Nato for launching air strikes against Libya, joined the growing consensus that the Gaddafi regime has lost all legitimacy.

The call by leaders from the U.S., Russia, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and the U.K. has come at the end of the two-day G8 summit. The statement was released in a 25 page, 93 sub-section communiqué.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy explained that the wording of the communiqué had been strengthened overnight and had also been fully endorsed by the Russians.

The communiqué stated: “Gaddafi and the Libyan government have failed to fulfill their responsibility to protect the Libyan population and have lost all legitimacy. He has no future in a free, democratic Libya. He must go.”

Nato recently reported that Libyan government forces had put down landmines in the rebel-held western city of Misrata. Commenting on the escalating situation in Libya President Barack Obama said: "The U.N. mandate of civilian protection cannot be accomplished when Gadhafi remains in Libya directing his forces in acts of aggression against the Libyan people."

"We are joined in resolve to finish the job," he declared.

The G8 leaders also issued a written statement Friday expressing support for the democratic uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.

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