France says G8 will seek agreement on Libya action

By REUTERS
March 14, 2011 11:49

Hague: It would be nightmare for Libyan people if Gaddafi stays in power; Erdogan says he is opposed to imposing NATO enforced "no-fly" zone.

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G8 group photo

G8 group photo (R) 311. (photo credit: Reuters / Images)

PARIS - Group of Eight foreign ministers will try to agree in Paris on what action should be taken in Libya, to speed up a UN Security Council decision on whether to impose a no-fly zone, France said on Monday.

The current G8 president, France said Libya would be a priority during talks on Monday and Tuesday between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the foreign ministers of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.

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"The conclusions from the March 11 European summit and the Arab League's March 12 resolution clearly demonstrate the international community's firm commitment to protecting Libyan civilians," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.

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"This issue will be discussed as a priority at the foreign minister's meeting with his G8 counterparts with the aim of reaching an agreement that will enable the Security Council, which has received an official request from the Arab League, to move forward as fast as possible."

Earlier, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that it would be a nightmare for Libya's people if Gaddafi managed to crush a rebellion and hold on to power

"If Gaddafi went on to be able to dominate much of the country, well this would be a long nightmare for the Libyan people and this would be a pariah state for some time to come," Hague told BBC Radio.

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Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan meanwhile said that any NATO military operation in Libya would be unhelpful and fraught with risk.

"We have seen from other examples that foreign interventions, especially military interventions, only deepen the problem," Erdogan, whose country is the only Muslim member of NATO, said at a conference in Istanbul.

"Therefore we see a NATO military intervention in another country as extremely unbeneficial and, moreover, are concerned that it could create dangerous results," said Erdogan.

"We need to give the Libyan people permission to chart their own course," he said.

Denying a report by al Jazeera television, a Pentagon spokesman said that the United States has not made a decision to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.

"That is a decision, a political decision ultimately, that has not been taken," Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told MSNBC television. He added that a no-fly zone was still, however, an option "under consideration."

On the ground Monday, pro-Gaddafi troops advancing east took Brega early on Sunday in what looked like an increasingly confident drive towards the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

However, the rebels, inspired by the overthrow of the Tunisian and Egyptian presidents to try to end Gaddafi's four-decade rule, said they had re-taken Brega on Sunday night. There was no way of verifying the rival claims.


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