No consensus between G8 countries on Libya no-fly zone

Foreign ministers of G8 countries have agreed to implement further measures against the Libyan leadership, but have not reached an agreement on whether to implement a no-fly zone over the North African state.

The issue was addressed during meetings of the G8 ministers in Paris on Monday and Tuesday.

“There is a common appetite for further discussion at the UN Security Council. We are clear here at the G8 that there is a need for further measures, a need to respond urgently,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague told journalists after a morning session of Tuesday’s talks. He did not specify, however, exactly which measures the countries were ready to implement against Libya.

While France and Britain have called for a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s warplanes from bombing rebels, other G8 countries, including Russia, have been reluctant to back the proposal.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said after Monday talks there was no agreement between the G8 countries on a no-fly zone. “So far, I have not convinced them,” he told France’s Europe 1 radio.

The Arab League voted on Saturday to ask the UN Security Council to implement a no-fly zone over Libya. Libyan rebels themselves have also called for a no-fly zone. They have also urged Western countries to carry out military strikes against pro-Gaddafi forces.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has repeatedly said that the alliance was considering various options against Libya, including possible military action, but said any intervention in Libya would be strictly in line with the UN Security Council decisions.

The EU has already imposed a travel ban on Gaddafi, his five family members and two dozen other Libyan officials over the use of violence against peaceful protesters in mid-February. Their European assets have been frozen.

Fierce clashes between Libyan rebels and pro-Gaddafi forces have been raging in the country since mid-February, claiming thousands of lives. Since last week, Gaddafi supporters have been pushing back insurgents, regaining control over many of their strongholds in the country’s north.

Pro-Gaddafi forces attacked the rebel-held town of Zuwarah in northwestern Libya on Monday, pushing rebel forces out, and also launched air strikes on the Libyan towns of Ajdabiya and Brega.

As rebels continue to show resistance, pro-Gaddafi commanders have promised amnesty to those who lay down their arms.

PARIS, March 15 (RIA Novosti) 

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