United States President Barack Obama has said that his government would increase diplomatic and political pressure on Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to get him to step down, but added that it is too early to start negotiating an exit for the dictator.
"Hopefully, he's going to be getting the message soon," Fox News quoted Obama, as saying.
Insisting that Gaddafi's ouster might not happen overnight, the President said: "He's been greatly weakened. His forces have been degraded. But what's absolutely true is that if you measured his remaining capability to rebel or opposition capability then he's still more powerful on the ground in Libya."
Obama has also insisted in an interview that Gaddafi's inner circle has begun to understand 'their days are numbered,' and some might be even negotiating to leave the regime.
"But that information may not have filtered to Gaddafi yet," he added. With the United States and its allies continuing with their missile strikes against the Libyan regime, media reports have claimed that the Italian government has offered to broker a deal under which the fighting would stop and Gaddafi would be allowed to go into exile to an unnamed African country.
"Gaddafi must understand that it would be an act of courage to say, 'I understand that I have to go.' We hope that the African Union can find a valid proposal," Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said.