TRIPOLI, Libya – Fellow Arab and African nations raised the international pressure Friday on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, with tiny Qatar flying the Arab world’s first combat missions over the North African nation and the African Union imploring him to move toward democratic elections.

The military operation against Gadhafi, which Friday included airstrikes by British and French jets, remains a U.S.-led operation, though NATO was preparing to assume at least some command and control responsibility within days.

A Libyan government delegation meeting in Ethiopia with African leaders – but not the rebels seeking Gadhafi’s ouster – said he is ready to  accept political reform, possibly including elections. But the delegation also said Libya is committed to a cease-fire that Gadhafi’s forces have flouted since the government announced it, and blamed the current violence on “extremists” and foreign intervention.

Coalition officials have invited senior members of a rebel leadership group to London next week to meet the world leaders attending a conference meant to bolster international support for the Libyan operation.

Gene Cretz, U.S. ambassador to Libya, said in Washington on Friday that the administration is still deciding whether to recognize the so-called Transitional National Council, and is weighing whether to provide more aid to the rebels, including arms.

NATO named Canadian Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard to lead its Libyan operation, finalizing what it hopes will be a unified command to oversee military action against Libya.

Envoys from NATO’s 28 member countries agreed late Thursday to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya. By Monday, the alliance expects to start doing so, as well as coordinating naval patrols in the Mediterranean to enforce the U.N. arms embargo against Gadhafi’s forces.

With further approval expected Sunday, NATO will take over the responsibility for bombing Gadhafi’s military to protect civilians from attack.

A NATO official said Friday that NATO now hopes to launch both operations simultaneously within a couple of days, avoiding the need for dual commands – NATO for the no-fly zone and the U.S. for the airstrikes. The official requested anonymity because of regulations about speaking to the media.

A Qatari fighter jet flew the country’s first sortie alongside a French jet Friday to enforce the no-fly zone, the first non-Western military flight in support of the operation.

Aside from the United Arab Emirates, which has pledged 12 warplanes, the international effort to protect Gadhafi’s opponents has no other countries from the Arab League,  which was among the driving forces behind the U.N. Security Council decision to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. The United States has provided millions of dollars in equipment to many of the league’s countries .

Qatar has close ties to the U.S. military, a reputation for international mediation, and hosts the pan-Arab Al-Jazeera network.

A Health Ministry official, Khaled Omar, said 114 Libyans have died in the international airstrikes, but he did not provide a breakdown of how many were soldiers or civilians.

– The Tribune Washington Bureau contributed to this report.