LONDON/TRIPOLI – NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was due to meet UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday for talks on the future of operations in Libya amid reports that NATO is beginning to acknowledge that air operations alone can not topple the Gaddafi regime, NATO informs..
Rasmussen will meet David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague before delivering a speech on ballistic missile defence at the Royal United Services Institute.
The meetings come in the wake of repeated warnings by British First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope that Britain would find it “challenging” to continue operations in Libya beyond the recent 90-day extension approved by NATO.
Cameron responded on Wednesday to Stanhope saying that Britain can sustain its part in NATO operations in Libya as long as necessary, and time is running out for leader Moammar Gadhafi.
The Libyan capital was hit by a fresh round of attacks on Tuesday night, as NATO stepped up its air strikes. According to state television, both military and civilian buildings were hit in Firnag, one of the most populated areas in the capital, Euronews.net informs. This assault of Tripoli provided a boost to rebel forces as they pushed back pro-Gaddafi forces on three fronts – the oil town of Brega, the government-held Zlitan and Kikla, which the opposition now controls.
Obama under pressure from congress
Meanwhile, in the US, questions about the legality of involvement in Libya are being asked. White House officials said late Tuesday they are preparing to “address a whole host of issues” about the U.S. role in NATO’s mission to support Libyan rebels as they attempt to oust Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The White House said its report would include a legal analysis showing it acted properly in complying with the country’s 1973 law designed to curb presidential war-making authority. The leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, sent a letter to President Barack Obama earlier Tuesday sharply criticizing the chief executive’s actions in authorizing the U.S. role in Libya without seeking congressional authorization.
Gaddafis get hold of tickets to London Olympics
Organisers of the 2012 London Olympic Games have been left red-faced by the revelation in the British media that Libyan officials have received hundreds of tickets to the event. In an article by the Daily Telegraph, it emerged that the group overseeing the Games is obliged to sell tickets to the Gaddafi regime as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) failed to get Libya expelled despite the on-going conflict and NATO bombardments. The Libyan Olympic Committee, which was allocated almost 1,000 tickets, is headed by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s eldest son, Muhammad. The newspaper quotes a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron as saying “the fact is that Gaddafi, his family and key members of that regime are subject to a travel ban and won’t be allowed to travel here to the Olympics in any event.”