ISTANBUL, Turkey, July 15 (UPI) -- Support for the rebel-backed Transitional National Council as the legitimate authority in Libya shows the tide is moving against the government, London said Friday.
Turkey hosted members of the international contact group on Libya following talks between TNC leaders and members of the European Parliament early this week.
In a grand declaration, contact group delegates, including Washington, London and their European partners, recognized the TNC as the legitimate governing authority in Libya.
"The tide is moving inexorably against (Libyan leader Moammar) Gadhafi," said British Foreign Secretary William Hague in a statement. "More countries were at this meeting than at previous contact groups, including Brazil, India, South Korea and Senegal. Pressure is increasing on all sides, politically, economically and militarily."
London said it was sending four more Tornado warplanes to Libya to support NATO operations there, bringing the total number to 16.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini in statements Friday said negotiations with Gadhafi's regime would be handled through U.N. channels. Rome, he said, was already supplying the rebel leaders with millions of dollars in financial support. In terms of Gadhafi, the Italian minister said it was apparent he's lost his legitimacy in Libya.
"There is no room for his presence, or that of his family," he said in a statement. "It is not a matter of whether but of how and when Gadhafi leaves power."
Frattini added that Italy would release seized funds and make them available in Italy as security for a line of credit for the TNC.