NATO rejects talk of Libya stalemate
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Last Updated: Friday, April 08, 2011, 20:32
Brussels: NATO refused on Friday to describe the conflict in Libya as a stalemate, describing the battle between rebels and Muammar Gaddafi forces as "fluid."

British Rear Admiral Russell Harding, deputy commander of NATO's Libya operations, said rival forces have been "moving up and down" a highway between Brega and Ajdabiya in the past 48 hours.

"If someone wants to define that as a stalemate that's fine, all I'm saying is that yes, it's fluid, but it's fluid in a relatively small area," he told reporters in a video conference from his headquarters in Naples, Italy.

He was speaking one day after US General Carter Ham, who led the first stage of the coalition air campaign in Libya, told the US Senate that the conflict appeared to be turning into a stalemate and that it was unlikely rebels could oust Gaddafi.

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu reiterated that a political solution was crucial to resolving the crisis in Libya, not just military power.

"We've always made clear that there is no purely military solution to this conflict," she said.

"This is why it's so important to find a political solution and there I would say there is no stalemate, just on the contrary, I think there is a clear drive from the international community to urgently find a political solution to this conflict," Lungescu said.

She recalled that the international "contact group" for Libya will meet in Qatar next week, and that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen would take part in the talks.

The group was set up with the aim of providing leadership and an overall political direction to the international effort; a forum for coordinating the response; and a focal point for contact with the Libyan parties.


First Published: Friday, April 08, 2011, 20:32

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