Consultations over, aids to Libya continue

Updated: 2011-04-27 16:07


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TRIPOLI - International organizations and countries are continuing their consultations over Libya as NATO continues its air strikes on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces, especially on "specific" targets.

In the meantime, the United States authorized 25 million dollars in aid to the Libyan opposition.

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in New York on Tuesday that his special envoy to Libya, Abdelilah Al-Khatib, Friday will travel to Benghazi, the stronghold of Libyan rebels, on an "imperative" mission to protect civilians or secure a political solution.

Ban told reporters at the end of the UN Security Council closed-door consultations that the humanitarian situation is "growing increasingly urgent" and "diplomatic efforts focus on securing a ceasefire and achieving a political solution".

"It is also clear that the Libyan regime has lost both legitimacy and credibility, particularly in terms of protecting its people and addressing their legitimate aspirations for change," Ban said.

He also said that over the past weekend, the United Nations established a humanitarian presence in Tripoli similar to the one in Benghazi.

Libya urged Russia on Tuesday to call an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss what it called the "colonial and crusader aggression" against it and the attempt to "target Gaddafi", state-run JANA news agency reported.

Libyan government officials said that Gaddafi's office in Bab al-Aziziyah compound was destroyed in a NATO air strike on Monday and the strike was an attempt on the Libyan leader's life.

The Libyan government has accused NATO of trying to assassinate Gaddafi after the coalition sent at least two large guided bombs into the sprawling office, residential and military complex where he lives in Tripoli.

Libyan state TV said late on Monday that the "crusader aggressors" also bombed civilian and military sites in Bir al-Ghanam, 100 km south of Tripoli, and the Ayn Zara area of the capital, causing casualties.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Rome on Tuesday to discuss military cooperation in the Libyan crisis and launch a joint handling of the immigration emergency that lately triggered a diplomatic row between the two countries.

The two leaders said that both countries will cooperate to tackle the Libyan crisis as Berlusconi said that Italy and France's military intervention in Libya has "one single goal" of protecting the civilians.

Berlusconi stressed that Italy's intensified military action would solely take the form of specific air raids against Gaddafi's military targets.

Italy's decision to meet American demands to join NATO air raids in Libya does not mean "bombing and Italian planes would carry out" targeted intervention on individual objectives, not on civilian areas, Berlusconi said.

"We felt we could not avoid (deeper involvement)," he said, stressing that both leaders of the United States and the anti-Gaddafi Libyan National Council had asked Italy to take part in further military intervention.

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