News / Europe

G8 Backs Away From Libya 'No-Fly' Zone

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, center, addresses reporters during a joint press conference held at the end of the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting in Paris, March 15, 2011
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, center, addresses reporters during a joint press conference held at the end of the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting in Paris, March 15, 2011

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Lisa Bryant

France failed Tuesday to get support for a "no-fly" zone over Libya from the Group of Eight nations meeting in Paris.

A two-day meeting of the G8 foreign ministers ended without agreement on establishing a no-fly zone against Libya, with reservations expressed  by Russia and Germany. The flight restrictions had been pushed by France and Britain, but even before the meeting ended, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe acknowledged that support was far from unanimous.

In an interview on France's Europe 1 radio, Juppe said that if such a no-fly zone had been agreed to last week, the Libyan opposition might not have experienced its recent setbacks against the forces of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

He said G8 ministers had agreed to relaunch discussions at the United Nations on ways to increase pressure against the Gadhafi government, including a possible air exclusion zone.

But German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle described any military intervention as difficult and dangerous. Westerwelle said a no-fly zone amounted to military intervention, and the international community had to be careful not to provoke the opposite effect of what it intended.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended part of the G8 meeting and also met with a member of the opposition Libyan National Council in Paris before heading to Cairo on Tuesday.

Japan's foreign minister also attended the G8 meeting, and Japanese diplomats expressed thanks for help being offered by G8 members to the devastated nation.

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