Diplomatic and Military Affairs

Libya takes Britain to task over key oilfield bombing

Updated: 2011-04-08 08:04

(China Daily)

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Libya takes Britain to task over key oilfield bombing

Rebel fighters fire rockets from the desert east of Brega on Wednesday. Youssef Boudlal / Reuters

Plight of civilians set to worsenas stalematecontinues

TRIPOLI, Libya - Libya accused Britain of bombing Libya's biggest oilfield as Washington rebuffed a letter from Muammar Gadhafi to US President Barack Obama, reiterating calls for the Libyan leader to step down.

As the war between government and rebel forces dug deeper into a stalemate and amid mounting alarm at the plight of civilians in besieged Misrata, Western powers were on Thursday throwing their energies into negotiating a solution.

NATO, acting under a UN mandate to protect civilians, says it is hamstrung in targeting Gadhafi's forces as they are using human shields but vowed to do everything to protect the population in Misrata, where UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said conditions were "grave".

Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim told a news conference in Tripoli that British warplanes had bombed Libya's biggest oilfield at Al-Sarir in the southeast.

The bombing, he said, had damaged the pipeline linking Al-Sarir and Tobruk, which is under rebel control.

There was no immediate comment from Britain's defense ministry or from NATO, which is coordinating the air strikes.

Meanwhile, hopes faded on Thursday for some 150 African refugees fleeing Libya whose boat capsized in the middle of the Mediterranean in rough weather, a day after 53 survivors were plucked from the sea.

"We are still searching for 150 people. The hope of finding other survivors is fading by the hour," Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said in parliament.



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