Allies not coordinating military action with Libyan rebels

French Defense Ministry deputy spokesman Philippe Ponties denied on Monday criticism that Western coalition forces have been coordinating airstrikes with the Libyan rebel National Transition Council.

“We maintain only political contacts with the National Transition Council,” Ponties said. “The [UN Security Council’s] 1973 resolution prohibits deployment of troops, thus it refers to political coordination only.”

The military operation to ensure a no-fly zone and arms embargo in Libya is being conducted jointly by 13 states, including the United States, Britain and France. NATO took over command of the coalition from the United States on Sunday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized the mission for going beyond the remit of the UN Security Council resolution. He said it amounted to interference in a “civil war.”

French military planes destroyed the command center of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi on Sunday and the United States launched six Tomahawk missiles Sunday and early Monday.

The rebel army, which has been fighting pro-Gaddafi forces since mid-February, has made rapid advancements into the west of Libya since the coalition mission began. Insurgents have also approached the key Gaddafi stronghold of Sirte.

PARIS, March 28 (RIA Novosti) 

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