BRUSSELS — EU's foreign policy chief called on Libya's government on Sunday to end the bloody crackdown that has engulfed parts of this North African country, where some 170 are reported dead following clashes between protesters.
"We've been urging restraint and we continue to do so," Catherine Ashton said ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers called to discuss the rapidly evolving situation in the Middle East and North Africa. "It's very important that the violence stops."
"I'm really worried about what's happening in Libya at the present time," Ashton told reporters.
In their Sunday meeting, the EU is considering economic, political and other ways in which the bloc can help the region engulfed in uprisings. These include a broader package of economic assistance to the countries involved. No immediate decisions were expected either at Sunday's informal dinner talks or at a regular monthly meeting of foreign ministers on Monday.
Ministers said the EU will consider new ways of supporting pro-democracy reforms in the region.
"This is a real opportunity for the EU to reflect and find a way forward that will bring together our resources more effectively, not just for the short term but also for the long term," Ashton said.