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No-fly zone a serious action: US on Libya

Press Trust Of India
Mar 16, 2011 at 10:10am IST

Washington: Implementing a no-fly zone over Libya would involve military action, the White House has said, adding that the option is being actively considered with international partners and the United Nations.

US President Barack Obama believes that implementing the no fly zone would be, in any situation, a serious action, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

"It is a military action," Carney said.

No-fly zone a serious action: US on Libya

Implementing a no-fly zone over Libya would involve military action, the White House has said.

"As Obama evaluates that option, which he has very clearly insisted be on the table for consideration and has driven the process to make sure that the option is evaluated and reviewed at NATO and now of course at the UN his preoccupation is whether this can be an option that can be effective? Is it the right option? What are the costs associated with it? What are the risks associated with it?"

Carney added.

Noting that the Obama Administration feels that it is important that any action like no-fly zone should be done in concert with its international partners, the White House spokesman said the UN would America's preferable vehicle for that.

"Therefore we would look to the UN as a forum for evaluating that option. Wednesday is the deadline for the no-fly zone option plans to be submitted in Brussels at NATO," Carney said.

"Our position is that action like that should be considered and taken if decided upon in coordination with our international partners, because it’s very important in the way that we respond to a situation like we see in Libya, that it be international and not unilateral; that it include the support and participation, for example, of the Arab League and other organizations and countries in the region," Carney added.

On Tuesday, the UNSC was divided on imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, even though the Arab League has urgently called for the measure after Muammar Gaddafi's advancing army regained control of some rebel-held towns.

Meanwhile, Obama has instructed his national security team to engage fully with the United Nations, NATO and its international partners on Libya and the options available.

"The President instructed his team to continue to fully engage in the discussions at the United Nations, NATO and with partners and organisations in the region," the White House said after Obama met his national security team on the current situation in Libya.

"In Wednesday’s meeting, the President and his national security team reviewed the situation in Libya and options to increase pressure on Gaddafi," it said in a statement.

"In particular, the conversation focused on efforts at the UN and potential UN Security Council actions, as well as ongoing consultations with Arab and European partners," said the White House.

Earlier in the day, Carney said that the US and the international community has taken dramatic action against the authoritarian Libyan regime.

"We have acted with the utmost urgency. We have taken dramatic action, together with our international partners, to put pressure on Muammar Gaddafi and his regime. And obviously, as you know, the US President has called on him to give up power," Carney told reporters.

The Obama Administration in consultation with its key international partners is continuing to review a variety of options that can be taken, that might be taken, Carney noted.

"But it, again, has been four weeks, if that, since this began, and the actions that the United States and the international -- its international partners have taken have been quite swift and unprecedented, in many ways, in terms of the nature and range of the actions," Carney said responding to questions.

Referring to the meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Libyan opposition leader, Carney said they discussed forms of assistance, including humanitarian assistance.

"She also has mentioned, I believe, and has said this, that we are exploring authorities to free up some of the seized regime assets, the 32 plus billion dollars that have been seized, to provide financial support to the opposition," Carney said.

"This is another indication of the constant exploration of different options that the US has to increase the pressure on the Qaddafi regime going forward," Carney added.

"We're reviewing options constantly, including the one that I mentioned the Secretary of State brought up yesterday with a Libyan opposition leader, which exploring ways to take those seized assets or a portion of them to aid the opposition in Libya," Carney said.

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