Former prime minister Sir John Major has said that military intervention in Libya should be a "last resort".
"If it's necessary
it is very desirable indeed that it enters under clear and indisputable international law under the UN auspices," he said.
Speaking to Today presenter Evan Davis, he said that there was a real danger of two terrible options unfolding if Colonel Gaddafi survives for a few more days - a "long and potentially bloody standoff between the two opposing forces", or "a full scale civil war, and an humanitarian disaster".
So given the constantly changing situation, the international response was liable to shift.
"We are seeing, as we sit here, the world change. And nothing is going to be the same again," he said.
"They are expelling autocracy in different countries and the whole world will have noticed that.
"You can never be entirely confident how events will unfold".
But one thing should be in no doubt, he argued. Gaddafi must understand, as Saddam Hussein did during the first gulf war, that if he uses chemical or biological weapons, "the world would descent upon him in the most terrible way".
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