News / Africa

Obama: US Backs Russian Mediation in Libya if Gadhafi Goes

French President Nicolas Sarkozy welcomes Mahmoud Jibril, representative for foreign affairs with the Libyan Transitional National Council, prior to a meeting at the Elysee Palace, in Paris (File Photo -  May 14, 2011)
French President Nicolas Sarkozy welcomes Mahmoud Jibril, representative for foreign affairs with the Libyan Transitional National Council, prior to a meeting at the Elysee Palace, in Paris (File Photo - May 14, 2011)

U.S. President Barack Obama told his Russian counterpart Monday that the United States is prepared to support Moscow's mediation in Libya provided it leads to a democratic transition and the departure of leader Moammar Gadhafi.

The White House said Mr. Obama spoke with President Dimitry Medvedev by telephone, thanking him for Russia’s negotiation efforts in the North African nation.

Mr. Medvedev has joined Western leaders in urging Mr. Gadhafi to step down, and Russian envoys have traveled to Libya to meet with government and rebel representatives.

Russia abstained from voting on a U.N. Security Council resolution earlier this year that authorized international involvement in Libya and has since criticized the scale and intent of the NATO-led campaign.

Meanwhile, France has denied claims it has changed policy toward the Libyan conflict and begun direct negotiations with Mr. Gadhafi. But officials in Paris signaled their impatience with the lack of progress in reaching a political solution to the crisis.

Foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said Monday that Paris has sent messages to the Gadhafi government "in consultation with" Libya's rebel Transitional National Council.

Valero said the messages tell Mr. Gadhafi he must step down as part of any political solution to his five-month conflict with opposition forces fighting to end his 42-year rule.

Earlier, Mr. Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam, told the Algerian newspaper El Khabar that French President Nicolas Sarkozy recently met a Gadhafi envoy to discuss the Libyan conflict.

France has given direct aid to the rebels and is taking part in NATO airstrikes against Libyan government forces.

French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said Sunday that opposition leaders eventually must talk to the Libyan government to resolve the conflict politically. The rebels have long rejected any negotiations with the Gadhafi government while he remains in charge.

Concerned about the mounting cost of the military campaign in Libya, France wants opposition fighters it is supporting to do more to end the conflict.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, speaking in Iraq Monday, said some NATO allies operating in Libya could see their forces "exhausted" within 90 days and that the U.S. will be "looked at to help fill the gap."

He did not say which countries he was referring to, or what the U.S. response would be to any request for increased military assistance.

Also Monday, the United Nations envoy for Libya, Abdel Elah al-Khatib, said he has urged direct talks between Mr. Gadhafi's government and the rebels, but acknowledged the two sides remain far apart.

Khatib said one of the key issues is agreeing on an institutional body to manage a political transition. He said any such group would have to be "all-inclusive and involve representatives from all political and social groups, as well as a wide range of factions, regions and tribes."

Meanwhile, opposition fighters attempting to advance towards Tripoli from front lines near the western rebel stronghold of Misrata came under fierce shelling by pro-government forces Monday. At least six rebels were killed in clashes near the coastal town of Zlitan.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid