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Obama, NATO Head Warn Libya Over Violence Against Civilians

Last updated (GMT/UTC): 07.03.2011 17:47

President Barack Obama said today the United States and its NATO allies are still considering military options in response to the violent crackdown on civilians by Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi's regime.

He said Qaddafi and his inner circle would be "held accountable" for any violence against civilians.

Earlier in the day, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned that attacks against civilians in Libya may amount to "crimes against humanity" as fighting continued between forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi and rebels.

He told journalists in Brussels that NATO "strongly condemns" the use of force against the Libyan people.

Meantime the United Nations said it will send a team to Libya to assess the humanitarian situation there. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon named former Jordanian minister Abdelilah Al-Khatib as his special envoy to Libya.

The secretary-general, in a phone call with Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa, demanded an end to "indiscriminate" attacks against civilians in Libya and warned that those who violate international law will be brought to justice.

In fighting today, forces loyal to Qaddafi advanced on the rebel-held oil port of Ras Lanuf today, after recapturing the town of Bin Jawad, which is on the road to Qaddafi's hometown of Sirte.

Witnesses said pro-Qaddafi forces also launched an air strike on Ras Lanuf.

Qaddafi, in an interview with France 24 news channel, said Libya is an important partner for the West in containing Al-Qaeda and migrants trying to reach Europe.

He also said international media had created a distorted image of the violence in Libya over the past few weeks.

compiled from agency reports

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/un_ban_says_libya_ must_stop_attacks_on_civilian_targets/2330048.html

Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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