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Libya Opposition Leader Welcomes British Military Advisers

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague arrives at the Libya Contact Group meeting in Doha, Qatar, April 13, 2011 (file photo)

The leader of a Libyan opposition has welcomed the announcement that British military officers will soon advise the Transitional Council, the body that represents the rebels opposing Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement Tuesday an experienced team of military advisers would help rebels work on organization, logistics and communications and on how to protect civilians from Gadhafi’s forces. Hague said the advisers would not supply arms or be involved in military attacks.

Hadi Shalluf, an international lawyer, is the head of the opposition Justice and Democracy Party of Libya. He described the organizational changes the rebels need to be more effective.

“We need to restructure, and…it was my idea from the beginning of the revolution that there needs to be ground military [forces] to help the Libyan people and to help the NATO airstrikes locate the Gadhafi forces,” he said.

Shalluf also called on the U.N. Security Council to deploy peacekeepers.

“We need the United Nations peacekeepers to help protect the arrival of humanitarian assistance. People [besieged] in [Libya’s third-largest city] Misrata need food and physical and psychological medical help. So, I think they [peacekeepers] will be playing an important role in helping the humanitarian [situation],” said Shalluf.

On Monday, U.N. and Libyan officials said they had reached a deal to allow aid workers safe passage to Misrata, but without guarantees from Mr. Gadhafi that his forces will stop shelling the rebels there.

A U.N. spokeswoman said he agreed to let an international assessment team into the city as part of an accord allowing humanitarian access to the capital, Tripoli, and other Libyan towns. She said the Libyan government will ensure the team's security only in areas under its control.