France says Libya strikes to last "a while yet"

Last Updated: Monday, March 21, 2011 - 16:13

Paris: Western air strikes in Libya are likely to last "a while yet”, but it is up to Libyans and not the international community to decide what course the country takes, a top adviser to the French President said on Monday.

Henri Guaino, one of Nicolas Sarkozy`s closest aides, said the UN-mandated coalition`s strikes against Libyan targets were not aimed at ousting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

"That`s not in the United Nations mandate. That`s the best result that could be reached, but the Libyan revolution belongs to the Libyans," Guaino told French radio RMC.

"It`s not up to the international community to decide the fate of the Libyans," he added. "Everybody clearly has in mind the secondary aim of Colonel Gaddafi`s departure."

Asked if the attacks were likely to continue, Guaino said they would carry on for "a while yet”.

Western powers carried out a second wave of air strikes on Libya early on Monday after stopping Gaddafi`s forces from advancing on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

A Libyan government health official has said 64 people were killed by the Western bombardment on Saturday night and Sunday morning, but the report could not be independently verified.

French government spokesman Francois Baroin said France had no evidence of civilian casualties in the international strikes and warned against a "communications and propaganda campaign" by pro-Gaddafi officials in Libya.

"There is no information about killed civilians that the French command is aware of," Baroin told Canal+ television.

Bureau Report



First Published: Monday, March 21, 2011 - 16:13

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