News / Africa

France, Britain: NATO Not Doing Enough in Libya

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe (file photo)
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe (file photo)

France and Britain have called on NATO partners to do more to protect Libyan civilians.  This, as battles continue to rage between government and rebel forces after the collapse of a cease-fire plan.

NATO has been enforcing a UN-authorized "no fly" zone and conducting airstrikes in Libya.  But French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told French radio Tuesday the alliance must do more to destroy Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's heavy weaponry.

Juppe said he would raise his concerns during a meeting of European Union foreign ministers Tuesday and with NATO ministers later in the week.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague urged alliance countries to increase the number of aircraft involved in the operation, as Britain has done.

The "no-fly" zone is aimed at protecting civilians under attack by Gadhafi's forces.

The rights group Amnesty International has accused forces loyal to Gadhafi of executing prisoners.  It says researchers in eastern Libya have seen bodies of opposition fighters who were shot in the back of the head after their hands and feet were bound.

On Monday, Libya's rebel interim government rejected a cease-fire plan proposed by the African Union, calling the option "outdated" because it does not meet their basic demand that Gadhafi and his sons leave power - and the country - immediately.

African Union officials said that in addition to an immediate cease-fire, the proposal calls for talks between rebels and the government, protection of foreign nationals in Libya and humanitarian assistance to civilians. They said the plan had been accepted by Gadhafi.

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