The International Criminal Court will likely issue an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi by the end of the month, Italy's foreign minister said.
The warrant would be a "key moment" in the battle against Gaddafi and would make it impossible for him to escape into exile, foreign minister Franco Frattini said on Thursday.
"From that moment on, an exit from power or from the country will no longer be imaginable," he said.
The UN Security Council voted unanimously on February 26 to ask the ICC to investigate human rights crimes in the uprising against Gaddafi, which began earlier that month.
Opposition rallies support abroad
The possibility of an impending arrest warrant came as the Libyan opposition's support appeared to grow in the United States and United Kingdom, where high-ranking rebel representatives were making visits on Thursday.
Mahmoud Jibril, the chief of the opposition National Transitional Council's "crisis team," was leading a delegation to Washington, DC and will visit the White House on Friday. Jibril will meet with high-ranking officials in US president Barack Obama's administration as well as members of Congress, but apparently not Obama himself.