EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Sunday opened a European Union mission office in a hotel in the Libyan rebel capital of Benghazi, renewing calls for strongman Muammar Gaddafi to quit.
"We are here for the long term," she said at a press conference at the Tibesti hotel after meeting Mustafa Abdul Jalil, head of the rebels' National Transitional Council.
The opening of an EU office to represent the 27-member bloc coupled with the vow of long-term support came as a boost for the rebels lobbying world powers to formally
recognise their interim council.
Ashton called on Kadhafi, who has been at the helm of the north African nation for 41 years, to step down. "Kadhafi must leave and we must have a future for Libya which belongs to the people of Libya," she said.