WASHINGTON - The United States, in a sharp shift in tone, wants the United Nations to authorize not just a no-fly zone to aid Libyan rebels but also air strikes against Libyan tanks and heavy artillery, US officials said on Thursday.
The United States has concluded a "no-fly" zone should be adopted and other measures that go well beyond a no-fly zone, should be taken, including air strikes against Libyan tanks and heavy artillery, US officials said.
The United States is also seeking UN authorization for other steps under consideration, including diverting frozen Muammar Gaddafi assets to Libyan rebels for buying weapons and tightening a Libyan arms embargo.
State Department Undersecretary of State William Burns said the United States supports international measures "short of boots on the ground" to address the Libyan crisis.
He said Washington is concerned Gaddafi could "return to terrorism and violent extremism" and create turmoil in the Middle East.