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Rebels want Nato to intensify attacks
Tripoli, Apr 14 (Agencies):
Published on 14 Apr. 2011 10:40 PM IST
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Libyan rebels have asked for more help in the fight against Libya, warning that Misrata is on the verge of a massacre by Gaddafi troops.
They have said that Nato needs to intensify its attacks on government forces as shelling continued in the city centre to avoid mass killings.
Tripoli Street, which links the west of the city with the centre, has come under heavy bombardment by the dictator’s loyalists while a heavy rocket assault near the port prevented a Qatari vessel from docking.
A rebel spokesman who identified himself only as Abdelsalam said: ‘A massacre will take place here if Nato does not intervene strongly.’
Nato has stressed its common goals in Libya, to bring an end to Gaddafi’s regime, when ministers met in Berlin amid a rift over the scope of the operation.
French officials have said they are not in favour of arming rebels warning that military intervention by the Western-led coalition would not be enough to end the 41-year dictatorship and a political resolution was the answer.
British representatives agreed with them that Washington’s military strength was needed to ensure the success of the mission. But President Obama insisted that the U.S. would stick to its plan to remain in a supporting role.
The Nato meeting was called to give a more focused direction on the military operation in Libya.
Three weeks of air strikes have not yet routed Gaddafi from power, leading the French saying not enough was being done.
Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said that ‘France is not currently in that frame of mind’ when asked about arming the rebels.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stressed that members of the alliance share the same goal to see the end of the regime.
Germany agrees with France in that ‘Libya can only have a good future if this dictator goes.
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he was ‘very happy that we have together succeeded in finally pushing through a comprehensive sanctions policy - there is now a de-facto oil and gas embargo (so) that the dictator Gaddafi’s cash reserves cannot be replenished.’
US officials said Clinton would use Thursday’s meetings to press the allies to reaffirm their goal of protecting civilians as rebels and forces loyal to Gaddafi continue fighting.
The officials said Clinton would stress the importance of using Nato military assets to go after pro-Gaddafi fighters attacking or approaching rebel-held positions and stepping up economic and political pressure on him to leave power. The foreign ministers of the US, Britain, France, Germany and Italy - a group known as the Quint - plan to meet on the sidelines in Berlin with a focus on Libya, US officials said. The meeting is aimed at getting the European nations, especially Germany, to boost pressure on Gaddafi to leave, the US officials said.
Arab League meets with world leaders on Libya:
The Arab League has met at its Cairo headquarters with world leaders seeking to find a solution to the crisis in Libya.
The meeting was chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa. It was attended by European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the head of the Organization of Islamic Conference Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and African Union Commission chairman Jean Ping.
Speaking at the meeting, Ban called for a “political” solution and immediate cease-fire to the conflict in Libya.
“We reiterate our call for an immediate verifiable cease-fire, withdrawal of forces, laying siege to cities, the protection of the civilian population and for the respect of the arms embargo as called for [in UN] Security Council resolution[s] 1970 and 1973.”
The Cairo meeting comes the day after a meeting in Doha, Qatar of the international Contact Group on Libya, which is responsible for monitoring international intervention in Libya.

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