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G8 Ministers in Paris Debate Imposition of No-fly Zone Over Libya

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) is greeted by France's President Nicolas Sarkozy upon her arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris, March 14, 2011

With the fighting continuing to rage in Libya, top diplomats from the world's leading industrialized nations gathered in Paris on Monday to discuss how to respond and whether to impose a no-fly zone in an effort to ground Libyan war planes.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined foreign ministers from Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Canada and Japan - the so-called Group of Eight - to seek a consensus.

France and Britain are leading calls for a no-fly zone and have gone to the U.N. Security Council to get its endorsement. Russia's U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, says "fundamental questions need to be answered" before the imposition of a no-fly zone. But he did not rule out the possibility that Russia would eventually endorse the measure.

China, which has veto power in the Security Council, opposes a no-fly zone. But on Saturday the 22-nation Arab League asked the U.N. Security Council to authorize a no-fly zone.

While in Paris, Clinton is due to hold talks with representatives of the Libyan opposition's National Council. The French government has taken the lead in recognizing the council as Libya's legitimate government.

The head of the council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, told The Financial Times newspaper that countries which fail to support the Libyan uprising will be denied the country's oil if Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is deposed.