Libya Contact Group To Meet In Qatar After Day Of Bloodshed In Misrata

An international conference on the Libya's future is set to begin Wednesday in Qatar, one day after witnesses reported more carnage and dire circumstances in western Libya. A delegation from the United Nations, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, will attend the first meeting of the Libya Contact Group in the Qatari capital of Doha. The group also includes officials from the European Union, the Arab League, NATO, the African Union and several countries. Members from the Libyan opposition's Transitional National Council will appear before the group.

Libyans shout pro-Gadhafi slogans from a tank that was taken from rebels by the Libyan army in Misrata on April 8, 2011

An international conference on the Libya's future is set to begin Wednesday in Qatar, one day after witnesses reported more carnage and dire circumstances in western Libya.

A delegation from the United Nations, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, will attend the first meeting of the Libya Contact Group in the Qatari capital of Doha. The group also includes officials from the European Union, the Arab League, NATO, the African Union and several countries. Members from the Libyan opposition's Transitional National Council will appear before the group.

Meanwhile, former Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa is expected to meet with Qatari government officials and Libyan representatives in Doha "to offer insights in advance of the Contact Group meeting," the British government said. Koussa, a longtime confidant of Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi and a former intelligence chief, fled to London last month after resigning from Gadhafi's regime.

How Koussa will be received by Libya's opposition is unclear.

Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, the deputy chairman of the Transitional National Council, did not explicitly reject the idea of opposition leaders meeting with Koussa in Doha. But he said such a meeting was "not on the agenda."

The Libya Contact Group's meeting follows a day of bloody violence in the war-torn city of Misrata. On Tuesday, at least 10 people were killed and 30 others wounded in heavy shelling, a doctor operating in two central clinics told CNN. The doctor, identified only as Dr. Hakim for safety reasons, said medical teams are exhausted from treating the wounded.

Rebel fighter Moaath al-Misrati told CNN the shelling came after rebels killed several of Gadhafi's snipers.

Witnesses said all telephone communications, including mobile service, had been cut.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe both called Tuesday for NATO to get more aggressive in Libya, and a rebel leader issued a plea for the international community to carry out the U.N. Security Council resolution of March 17, which calls for "all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack" in the North African country.

Hague told reporters in Brussels, Belgium, that "a huge amount has been achieved in Libya, but clearly there is more to be done."

Juppe said NATO needs to fully embrace the role it accepted -- to protect Libyan civilians from Gadhafi's forces.

"NATO wanted to take charge of the military operations, we accepted it," Juppe said on France Info radio. "It has to carry out its role today, which means to prevent Gadhafi from using heavy weapons to bombard the population."

In the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, Ghoga issued an "urgent statement" calling on the international community "to intervene and stop the massacres that Gadhafi promised in Misrata, and to implement the U.N. resolution in any possible means."

Ghoga told CNN that the opposition has submitted a wish list of military equipment to Qatar and France. He said the list was compiled by rebel military leaders, and he didn't know exactly what was being requested.

Last week, when asked by CNN's Reza Sayah which countries were providing rebels with weapons and training, Ghoga said, "We are in communication with our brothers in Qatar and also with our brothers in the Egyptian republic and with our friends in Italy and France." He indicated in the interview that the weapons were on their way to Libya.

An African Union attempt at forging peace fell flat when Ghoga and fellow rebel leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil rejected it on grounds that it did not provide any solutions to violence against the Libyan people.

Gadhafi had agreed in principle to stop hostilities and allow outside forces to help keep the peace, his government and African Union mediators said Monday in a joint statement after a meeting in Tripoli this week.

The African Union plan announced Monday did not address whether Gadhafi will step down, nor is it binding. According to the memorandum detailed by Ramtane Lamara, the African Union's commissioner for peace and security, the plan had four elements:

-- An immediate end to all fighting

-- Libyan authorities' cooperation "to facilitate the diligent delivery of humanitarian assistance"

-- The protection of foreign nationals in Libya

-- The start of talks involving various Libyan authorities, including opposition figures, with the aim of setting up "an inclusive transition period" to adopt and implement "political reforms necessary for the elimination of the causes of the current crisis."

As talk about ending the crisis in Libya continues, so does the tug-of-war for control of key cities.

Ghoga, the Transitional National Council's deputy chairman, said Tuesday that rebel forces were "fighting in the direction of Brega" from the western gate of Ajdabiya, a city recently recaptured by the rebels.

"Gadhafi's forces still have some elements in Brega," he told reporters. "We added more security personnel to protect the oil fields in the city because the regime is trying to strand us economically."

Ghoga also described the situation in the capital city of Tripoli as "very dire." He said fuel and food there were depleted "because all fuel is being for the Gadhafi forces' need(s)."

Ghoga also claimed that "thousands of demonstrators" opposing the regime were arrested in the capital and that "a large number of them were executed in the Saladin military academy," but didn't provide further details. CNN could not independently confirm those claims.

CNN