Clinton: US committed to NATO mission in Libya

AP News
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Posted: Apr 14, 2011 7:12 AM
Clinton: US committed to NATO mission in Libya

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the United States is committed to supporting NATO's mission in Libya, as leader Moammar Gadhafi tests the resolve of the alliance with continued attacks on opposition forces.

Clinton assured NATO allies on Thursday that Washington was prepared to do what it takes to ensure the success of the mission and called on U.S. partners in Europe and elsewhere to boost pressure on Gadhafi to step down from power.

Clinton is in Berlin for two days of NATO meetings hoping to bridge differences over how the alliance should proceed in the Libya operation.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is in Berlin for talks with her fellow NATO foreign ministers, hoping to bridge differences over how the alliance should proceed in its military operations over Libya.

American officials say Clinton will use several rounds of meetings Thursday to press the allies to reaffirm their goal of protecting civilians as rebels and forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi continue fighting.

The officials say Clinton will stress the importance of using NATO military assets to go after pro-Gadhafi fighters attacking, approaching or otherwise threatening rebel-held positions as well as stepping up economic and political pressure on Gadhafi to leave power.

In a joint appearance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Clinton said NATO members share "the same goal, which is to see the end of the Gadhafi regime in Libya. And we are contributing in many ways in order to see that goal realized."

Britain and France, along with the rebels, say NATO isn't doing enough and are urging the U.S. to take a bigger role. The U.S. wants to remain in the back seat.

Two senior U.S. officials traveling with Clinton declined to discuss the British and French concerns but suggested they were without merit.

The officials maintained that the alliance was succeeding in its mission. They noted that NATO commanders themselves have had no complaints and that those commanders are free to ask for additional resources but have yet to do so.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the delicacy of the diplomacy, said Clinton would be pressing NATO to define in more precise detail its military goals and the means it will use to achieve them.