Hillary at NATO talks amid Libya friction

The Berlin meeting is among a series of international consultations on Libya.

Berlin: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived early Thursday in Berlin for NATO talks amid friction within the Western alliance over sharing the burden of the Libya military campaign.

The meeting of NATO foreign ministers on Thursday and Friday is among a series of international consultations on Libya. On Wednesday, world powers meeting in Qatar pledged financial assistance to the cash-strapped rebels.

Britain and France, which had led global calls for action to stop Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s attacks on his own people, have pressed NATO allies to deploy more combat jets.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has said he would raise his concerns during the Berlin talks.

US President Barack Obama`s administration, which has stepped up the war in Afghanistan and proclaimed an end to combat operations in Iraq, has been keen for Western allies to bear the brunt of the Libya operations.

But the Pentagon said on Wednesday that US fighter jets were still carrying out bombing raids on Libya`s air defences, despite earlier statements that the United States had halted major operations.

Hillary will head on Saturday to South Korea for talks with President Lee Myung-Bak, a close US ally, before going on Sunday to Japan.

The State Department said Hillary wanted to show solidarity with Japan as it reels from its March 11 mega-earthquake and tsunami, the worst disaster for the world`s second largest developed economy since World War II.

Bureau Report