NATO rejects talk of Libya stalemate

NATO described the battle between rebels and Muammar Gaddafi forces as "fluid."

Updated: Apr 08, 2011, 20:32 PM IST

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

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.