Libyan rebels urge NATO to step up anti-Gaddafi efforts

Libyan rebels have criticized NATO forces for a slow response to loyalists of embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, which they say have allowed government troops to gain control of more rebel-held territory.

“NATO forces have been acting very slowly, allowing Muammar Gaddafi troops to relocate and enter towns,” Abdul Fatah Younis, the chief of the rebel National Liberation Army’s General Staff, said during a news conference in Benghazi on Tuesday, which was broadcast by Al Jazeera.

The NATO military leadership has failed to make prompt decisions on military operations against Gaddafi loyalists despite timely reports about their relocation and armaments supplied to the alliance by rebel forces, Younis said.

If NATO does not step up its anti-Gaddafi efforts in Libya, the rebel Transitional National Council will ask the United Nations to suspend the military operation, he added.

Younis also said the situation in the city of Misrata, which has been besieged by Gaddafi troops for already 40 days, remained extremely difficult, with local residents suffering from a lack of water and medicines.

UN Security Council Resolution 1973, adopted on March 17, imposed a no-fly zone over Libya and authorized measures to protect civilians from Gaddafi forces, but stopped short of authorizing ground operations in the North African country.

Responsibility for leading and conducting this mission was shifted to an integrated NATO command on March 27.

Thousands have died in a civil war that emerged in Libya after forces loyal to Gaddafi violently suppressed anti-government protesters in mid-February.


CAIRO, April 6 (RIA Novosti)

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