BENGHAZI (AFP) - Washington urged Moamer Gaddafi to leave Libya as its most senior envoy to date held talks in the rebel capital Monday and the West decided to send strike helicopters into the battle against his regime. In another boost to forces fighting to oust the strongman, France said it and Britain would provide helicopters for NATOs air campaign and the EU widened sanctions against Gaddafi's forces. The United States remains committed to protecting Libyan civilians and believes that Gaddafi must leave power and Libya, said the US representatives office to the rebels National Transitional Council. Washingtons call came a day after the European Unions foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, opened an EU office in Benghazi and declared the 27-member blocs long term support to the rebels. The Libyan people, like people everywhere, have the right to determine their own future and the United States will continue to support them and to work with the NTC in this endeavour, it said. The statement from the representatives office came as US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman was in Benghazi for talks with the rebel leadership in a three-day visit. Feltmans visit is another signal of the USs support for the NTC, a legitimate and credible interlocutor for the Libyan people, said the statement. Britain, France, Gambia, Italy and Qatar have already recognised the rebel council as their sole interlocutor in Libya. The European blocs foreign ministers met in Brussels on Monday to look at ways forward in Libya as divisions emerge over an exit strategy. Member states currently are less united in the belief that Gaddafi must go before a ceasefire or political talks can begin, one diplomat said. But the rebel leadership will not budge on this point. Increasing the military pressures, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe announced on Monday his country will provide helicopters for NATOs air campaign. The helicopters would enable the Western military alliance to better adapt our ground strike capacity with more precise means of (carrying out) strikes, the minister said. The British, who have assets similar to ours, will also commit helicopters to the mission, French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said on the sidelines of talks with European Union counterparts in Brussels. The EU also tightened the screws on Gaddafi. An EU assets freeze and travel ban against Gaddafi loyalists and firms suspected of propping up the regime was extended to a member of the Libyan leaders inner circle and a Libyan airline, an EU diplomat said, on condition of anonymity. In another bonus for the rebels, EU ministers in a statement termed the NTC a key political interlocutor representing the aspirations of the Libyan people. Rebels on Monday took their diplomatic offensive to Turkey, NATOs sole Muslim member, where the head of the rebel council Mustafa Abdul Jalil met Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. There is no room anymore in Libya for the old administration, said Turkish President Abdullah Gul after talks with Jalil, the countrys Anatolia news agency reported. Ankara has toughened its tone after initially criticising the US-led air strikes on Libya launched on March 19 and insisting on a limited combat role for NATO once the alliance took over command. Earlier this month, Erdogan urged Gaddafi to immediately cede power and leave Libya. In Moscow, a rebel representative was due to hold talks with Foreign Minister Minister Sergei Lavrov a week after the top Russia diplomat met emissaries of Gaddafi. In March, Russia abstained from the UN Security Council resolution on Libya that essentially authorised military action. But the Kremlin has since accused the West of exceeding the UN mandate and becoming entangled in a full-blown military operation in Libya. On the ground, there was little movement in the battle lines. Rebel military spokesman Ahmed Omar Bani said the frontline between the rebel-held east and the mainly government-held west remained between the strategic crossroads town of Ajdabiya and the oil refinery town of Brega. In Ajdabiya, our forces are at 40 kilometres (25 miles) on the road to Brega, he said, an advance of some 20 kilometres on their positions a few days ago. Bani said rebel fighters who earlier this month broke the loyalist siege of Libyas third-largest city Misrata the rebels most significant bastion in the west had pushed on towards Zliten, the next town along the coastal road towards Tripoli. Gaddafi forces are outside Zliten but are facing rebels on the eastern outskirts. Bani spoke of a desperate situation in the other rebel-held enclave in the west the mainly Berber hilltowns southwest of the capital. In the Nafusa mountains, the situation is terrible. There is no water, no food supplies. We cant help them for the moment, and that is for the last 47 days, he said.