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 Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid