ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Libye: la France va-t-en-guerre
Translated Wednesday 13 April 2011 and reviewed by Gene Zbikowski
France has called on NATO to increase its strikes in Libya. The head of French diplomacy has received the backing of his British counterpart. But the French and the British seem to be in the minority on this subject, both in NATO and in the coalition that is participating in the strikes.
Alain Juppé stated this morning that “NATO must play its full role,” and NATO is not “doing enough.” He demanded that NATO destroy “the heavy weapons that today are bombarding the city of Misrata.” The French foreign affairs minister intends to bring up this subject with his NATO counterparts at a ministerial meeting in Berlin on April 14 and 15. He has obtained the support of his British counterpart, William Hague.
The two countries seem more and more to be in the minority in both the coalition and NATO. Thus on April 12, the Spanish secretary of state for European affairs, Diego Lopez Garrido, did not judge it “necessary” to intensify NATO efforts. “NATO has done a good job,” he insisted, adding that “the no-fly zone is a success.”
For his part, the head of Italian diplomacy, Franco Frattini, says he has “expressed perplexity” with regard to this demand, repeating that his country had “already put means at the disposition” of NATO.
As for NATO general secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen, he underlined the danger of prolonging the fighting, which would lead to a worsening situation and the risk that Al Qaeda and the Islamist current would benefit, as was the case in Iraq. He therefore repeated that there is no military solution to the Libyan crisis and that a political solution is urgently needed.
The United States, which withdrew from the coalition upon the entry of NATO, seems also to be reserved. On April 11, the U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton reversed priorities, insisting on the “non-negotiable” nature of a ceasefire, and pushing back to second place the necessity of removing Colonel Qaddafi from power. Qaddafi has been in power for 42 years.
In the current situation, a ceasefire would mean that, at least for the time being, Muammar Qaddafi would keep control of Tripoli and the surrounding region.