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World powers vow to continue Libyan mission

International leaders in London pledged to keep their military attacks against Libya. They also formed a new contact group on Libya which is scheduled to meet in Qatar soon.

NATO chief Rasmussen at the conference

Military attacks against Gadhafi's regime will go on

International partners meeting in London agreed on Tuesday to continue their military mission until Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi complies with all terms of a United Nations resolution to protect civilians, Britain's Foreign Office said in a statement.

The final statement from the 40-nation strong conference on Libya declared that the embattled leader would be "held accountable" for his actions.

A statement from British Foreign Secretary William Hague, in his role as chair of the conference, said that participants reaffirmed their commitment to full and swift implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions on Libya and to continuing military action to enforce them.

Hague's statement said that military action in Libya has so far been "successful in protecting countless civilians from Gadhafi's forces and in effectively wiping out Gadhafi's air capability."

"Participants agreed that Gadhafi and his regime have completely lost legitimacy and will be held accountable for their actions," it added.

They also agreed to set up a contact group to coordinate political efforts and said that Arab state Qatar had agreed to convene the first meeting of this body as soon as possible.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the allied efforts had reached a "turning point" and had averted a "potential massacre."

She added that the military strikes against Moammar Gadhafi's forces would continue until all the terms of the UN resolution were met.

A British Tornado warplane

Airstrikes against pro-regime targets continued on Monday

The UN resolution demands an immediate ceasefire and allowed for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya ostensibly to protect citizens on the ground.

No regime change

In a televised statement from Washington late on Monday evening, US President Barack Obama ruled out the idea that regime change through force should be an aim of the coalition.

"To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq," he said. "Regime change there took eight years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives and nearly a trillion dollars. That's not something we can afford to repeat in Libya."

Obama repeated the White House position that Gadhafi, who is accused of war crimes, should not remain in power. But he said that the UN resolution to protect civilians did not extend to involvement in a change of leadership.

The rebel leadership has ruled out any form of deal that would allow Gadhafi and his regime to remain in place.

Author: Michael Knigge (dpa, AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Susan Houlton

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