G8 leaders meet to discuss Libya no-fly zone

Hillary Clinton said a no-fly zone plan would be presented to NATO Tuesday.

Last Updated: Mar 15, 2011, 00:06 AM IST

Paris: Group of Eight powers gathered in
Paris on Monday to thrash out a common line on possible
intervention to ground the warplanes pounding Libya`s rebels.

As forces loyal to Libyan ruler Moammer Gaddafi pushed
their fierce assault against the rebels to the key town of
Ajdabiya, the eight powers were seeking a common front, with
host France pushing for a no-fly zone over Libya.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe vowed to step up
efforts to get approval for the measure, which is backed by
the 22-nation Arab League, considered crucial for dealing with
the region.

But Britain and France, which are drafting a
resolution for the UN Security Council, failed last week to
convince their European Union partners to back the move, and
the United States and Russia are also lukewarm.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Paris
to sit down with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and
their counterparts from Britain, Canada, France, Germany,
Italy and Japan.

Clinton has said a no-fly zone plan would be presented
to NATO tomorrow.

China, the only veto-wielding member of the Security
Council not represented at the Paris G8 talks, is opposed to a
no-fly zone.

France has also proposed targeted bombings against
Gaddafi if he attacks his own people.

"In the coming week there could be surgical strikes on
airports, and we could scramble Gaddafi`s transmission
systems," a French government source who asked not to be named
said.

In Libya, the poorly equipped rebel forces have been
gradually beaten back by forces loyal to Gaddafi, routed from
several towns by shelling and airstrikes.

Their opposition national council`s representative
Mahmoud Jibril and his delegation have been seeking formal
support abroad. A US official said Clinton would meet with
them in Paris today or early tomorrow.

France has formally recognised the council as Libya`s
legitimate representatives. The European Union has agreed to
talk to them but has so far stopped short of full recognition.

Bureau Report