Libya's rebels have thanked France for its role in the Western-led military blitz against the Gaddafi regime but said "outside forces" could now leave the country, in a letter published overnight.
"In the middle of the night, your planes destroyed tanks that were set to crush Benghazi. ... The Libyan people see you as liberators. Its recognition will be eternal," wrote rebel leader Mahmoud Jibril in the letter addressed to President Nicolas Sarkozy, published by the French daily Le Figaro.
However, Mr Jibril said: "We do not want outside forces. We won't need them. We will win the first battle thanks to you. We will win the next battle through our own means."'