Washington: The White House on Wednesday said that Muammar Gaddafi is clearly losing his grip on power and on his way out after four decades leading Libya.

"Every metric is showing that the situation is moving against Colonel Gaddafi," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

"He controls less territory and the opposition is on the offensive in a variety of areas of the country," Carney said.

The United States and other Western and regional powers on Friday recognized the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) as Libya's legitimate authority.

US envoys meanwhile held a rare weekend meeting with regime representatives "to deliver a clear and firm message that the only way to move forward is for Gaddafi to step down," a US official said in Washington on Yuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Gaddafi said he will not bow under the pressure of NATO air strikes and the rebellion against him, insisting that his loyalists would recapture lost territory.

Libyan rebels claim to have wrested control of the key refinery town of Brega from Gaddafi loyalists, though the regime denies the town had fallen.