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Obama to Deliver National Address on Libya

VOA News March 28, 2011

U.S. President Barack Obama will address the American people Monday on the situation in Libya, as some in Congress say U.S. actions there and their objectives are still unclear.

The Obama administration has defended its decision to intervene militarily in Libya and help enforce a United Nations-authorized no-fly zone.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that that while Libya is not a "vital interest" of the United States, it is part of a region that is a vital interest. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the North African country is a vital national interest for Britain, France, Italy and other NATO allies, as well as for Arab partners of the U.S.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that the coalition attacks on forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi are not sanctioned by the U.N. Security Council resolution that authorized the use of "all necessary measures" to protect civilians in Libya. Lavrov called the international actions intervention in a civil war. Russia abstained from the vote on the resolution.

Also Monday, Qatar's state news agency quoted a foreign ministry official as saying the country has recognized Libya's rebel council as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Qatar is the first Arab nation to officially recognize the Libyan opposition and was also the first Arab country to join the mission enforcing the no-fly zone.

Clinton and Gates told a U.S. television show Sunday that while the Libyan opposition may not have a well-organized fighting force, it is getting help from Libyan military members who have given up on Gadhafi.

Gates said Gadhafi's military may start to see that it is in a no-win situation. He also said that there is no proof so far that the United States is responsible for civilian casualties in Libya.

Gates said intelligence reports say Gadhafi is placing bodies of people he killed at sites of U.S. attacks and blaming the deaths on American bombs.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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