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LIBYA: No plans for NATO to intervene in Libya, alliance leader says

February 24, 2011 |  9:34 am

NATO has no plans at the moment to intervene in the Libyan crisis, the head of the Western military alliance said Thursday during a visit to Ukraine.

"I would like to stress that NATO has no plans to intervene and we have not received any request," Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters in Kiev. He added that any action by the alliance would have to be taken with "a clear United Nations mandate."

The United Nations, like the United States, has condemned the violence against protesters in Libya but hasn't proposed any definitive action to pressure the Tripoli regime to abide by international human rights accords.

Elsewhere in Europe, however, calls were intensifying for some form of action to halt the bloodshed unleashed against anti-regime demonstrators by Libyan strongman Moammar Kadafi.

In Paris, French Defense Minister Alain Juppe called for a U.N.-backed team to investigate reported atrocities by Kadafi loyalists against Libyans agitating for his ouster. Hundreds have been killed in clashes between regime supporters and opponents, with reports of helicopter gunships firing on crowds and mercenaries flown in to fill the void left by soldiers defecting to the protesters' side.

Juppe also said France would consider backing sanctions, including a boycott of Libyan oil, if Western allies agreed on a coordinated plan to cut off Kadafi's economic lifelines.

"I hope wholeheartedly that Kadafi is living his last moments as leader," Juppe said in an interview on France Inter radio.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague also appealed for an investigation of the reported use of force by Kadafi in an effort to suppress the insurrection against his 42-year grip on power. Hague told BBC Radio it was time for the international community to confront Kadafi's leadership, which "by all accounts is now committing serious offenses.”

Meanwhile, European Union diplomats gathering in Geneva ahead of an emergency meeting Friday of the U.N. Human Rights Council were discussing whether to suspend Libya from the forum for alleged crimes against humanity in the Kadafi regime's brutal crackdown on opponents.

--Carol J. Williams

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