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No endgame seen in Libya crisis

/ 04:44 AM March 21, 2011

PARIS—Western leaders on Saturday acknowledged there was no endgame beyond the immediate UN authorization to protect Libyan civilians, and it was uncertain that even military strikes would oust Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi from power.

Many of the leaders who were in Paris had called for Gadhafi to quit, and it may be that military intervention will lead to negotiations with the opposition for the dictator and his family to leave.

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The emergency meeting in Paris included US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the prime ministers or foreign ministers from Britain, Canada, Germany, Norway, Italy, Qatar, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Denmark, Belgium, Spain and Poland.

Amr Moussa, who recently resigned as secretary general of the Arab League to run for president of Egypt, was present, along with the league’s incoming leader, Hoshyar Zebari, the foreign minister of Iraq. Also in attendance was the European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.

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But no African representatives attended the Paris meeting. The African Union chief, Jean Ping, instead traveled to Mauritania for a meeting with the continent’s leaders who sought to mediate a peaceful end to the Libyan crisis.

The United States, France and Britain had insisted that at least some Arab governments be involved in the Libyan operation to remove the chance that Gadhafi would portray the military action as another Western colonial intervention in pursuit of oil.

But there was no sign that any Arab military force would explicitly take part.

China, which, like Russia, abstained from the UN Security Council vote on Resolution No. 1973 authorizing the air strikes, expressed regret over the attacks, saying it opposed the use of force in international relations. Beijing urged a return to stability.

Russia also expressed regret over the air assault and said Resolution No. 1973 was “adopted in haste,” while the African Union, which opposed military action, on Sunday called for an “immediate stop” to all attacks.

But Japan said it backed the multinational action, urging Gadhafi to make a “prudent decision.” Reports from New York Times News Service and Agence France-Presse

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TAGS: Diplomacy, Foreign affairs, Middle East Africa - Africa, Military, Unrest and Conflicts and War
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