EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has reiterated that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi must relinquish power. She was speaking from the rebel stronghold Benghazi, where she also promised to offer long-term support to the Libyan opposition.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said, "Gaddafi must leave. And we must have a future for Libya that belongs to the people of Libya and moves forward as they would wish."
Ashton also announced the opening of EU's office in Benghazi, an effort to support the opposition.
Catherine Ashton said, "By opening the office of the European Union, I bring the commitment of the European Union 27 Member States -- and all of the institutions -- in support of the people of Benghazi and of the people of Libya."
Ashton says she's held talks on key issues with the Libyan opposition National Transitional Council, and representatives of young people, media, and human rights organization during her visit in Benghazi.
Catherine Ashton said, "We don't just come for today but we are here for the long term. What the European Union can offer is support as you build the country of the future, your institutions your economy and your political life, we will be here to support you every step of the way."
Earlier after meeting the Transitional Council chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil, Ashton said the EU would support the opposition in border management and security reform.
Jalil told reporters that the opposition would abide by all the conventions and international laws. They plan to mobilize all the Libyan people to rebuild the country.
Ashton visited Benghazi's Liberation Square soon after the EU delegation arrived on Sunday morning. Her visit came shortly after NATO bombed the capital Tripoli and Gaddafi's nearby compound late Saturday.