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The two discussed ways that the international community can help protect civilians and provide key services, said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

Mr. Obama urged the rebel council to take steps to ensure a “peaceful, inclusive and just” transition.

“True justice will not come from reprisals and violence. It will come from reconciliation and a Libya that allows its citizens to determine their own destiny,” he said.

“The Libya that you deserve is within your reach,” he added in remarks directed at the Libyan people.

Ms. Nuland said diplomats from the “Contact Group” comprising mostly countries that took part in NATO’s air offensive in support of the rebels will meet in Istanbul on Thursday.

Britain announced that frozen Libyan assets would be provided to the rebels soon. France called for an international meeting on Libya next week, and Italy sent a team to Benghazi, the rebels’ de facto capital, to help with reconstruction.