News / Middle East

NATO Not Planning to Interfere in Libya

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday that the U.S.-led alliance had no plans to intervene in Libya, February 24, 2011
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday that the U.S.-led alliance had no plans to intervene in Libya, February 24, 2011

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the alliance has no plans to intervene in the unrest in Libya.

Speaking in Ukraine Thursday, Rasmussen said NATO has received no request for such an intervention, and stressed that any action NATO does take should be based on a United Nations mandate.

Rasmussen said the situation in Libya does not threaten NATO or any NATO allies, but he added it could cause a refugee crisis.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is facing international pressure over his government's violent crackdown against protesters.

The European Union has already decided to prepare new sanctions against Libya, and the U.S. has said it is also considering sanctions. But neither has officially suggested using force.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he has ordered his national security team to prepare "a full range of options" for dealing with the crisis.

President Obama said the crackdown in Libya violates international norms and called the suffering and bloodshed "outrageous and unacceptable." Mr. Obama said it is "imperative the nations of the world speak with one voice" about the situation.

Mr. Obama said he was dispatching Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Geneva for international talks aimed at stopping the crackdown. Clinton said Wednesday that Washington's foremost concern must be the safety and security of its citizens, indicating all measures were being taken to assist in their evacuation from Libya.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-based SITE monitoring group said Thursday that al-Qaida's North African branch has issued a statement expressing solidarity with the anti-Gadhafi protesters.  The group quoted Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb as urging the Libyan people to continue their uprising.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon repeated his condemnation of the violence in Libya Wednesday, calling the scale of the attacks "egregious" and saying those responsible must be held accountable.

The Libyan leader has also received pressure from his Arab neighbors. The Arab League held an emergency session in Cairo Tuesday, agreeing to suspend Libya from participating in its meetings. Arab League chief Amr Moussa said violence against protesters must end.

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

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