In the meantime, the Italian foreign minister has expressed deep concern about the possibility of large numbers of people fleeing Libya and turning up in Italy:
Franco Frattini, the foreign minister, said Italy was bracing for an exodus 10 times bigger than the number of Albanians who fled to Italy in the 1990s when the Balkan nation descended into anarchy.
"We know what to expect when the Libyan national system falls – a wave of 200,000 to 300,000 immigrants," Mr Frattini said.
"These are estimates, and on the low side ... It is a Biblical exodus. It's a problem that no Italian should underestimate."
He said about a third of Libya's population, or 2.5 million people, are immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa who could flee if the popular revolt topples the government of Muammar Gaddafi.
Those living in the eastern part of Libya might try to reach Greece, rather than Italy, because it is closer, he said.