Prime Minister David Cameron urged Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to “go now” as the UK imposed sanctions in an effort to force him from power.
The Prime Minister, speaking inside Downing Street, also said that he was “delighted” at the success of a second special forces-led operation to rescue oil workers stuck in the remote Libyan desert.
The UK, in line with a United Nations Security Council resolution, has frozen the assets of Gaddafi and his family and barred them from entering the UK.
Mr Cameron said: “All of this sends a clear message to this regime: it is time for Colonel Gaddafi to go and to go now. There is no future for Libya that includes him.”
The Premier welcomed the safe extraction of another 150 civilians – including an unspecified number of UK nationals – in three RAF Hercules transport planes to Malta earlier.
He said: “Obviously Libya is a country in complete chaos and so it is difficult to arrange these things. But it was the right thing to do and I pay tribute to the very brave pilots and armed services personnel who managed to help so many British citizens back to safety and I am delighted they have been able to do that.”
The latest mission “was not without its difficulties”, he added.
Speaking about the rescue mission, he said: “I am sure everyone will be relieved. Good work has been done today. Three Hercules have gone into the eastern desert area and brought back a number of British nationals but also many, many others and it was a mission that was not without its difficulties.”
The rescue mission had to be conducted without the permission of the regime in Tripoli. Officials believe the number of Britons still awaiting evacuation is now in the dozens.
“It is risky and it is difficult but I judged that it was the right thing to do because there are British citizens spread out across those oil platforms. We need to get those people home, we need to do so safely and we can do so helping many other nationalities at the same time.”