Oz FM Rudd warns of lengthy Libyan action

March 21st, 2011 - 4:35 pm ICT by ANI  

Kevin Rudd Melbourne, Mar. 21 (ANI): Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has said it is important to see this week’s initial bombardment of Libya as “phase one” in a multi-phase operation.

“This will be a long process. I’m not prepared to speculate on timelines here. The truth is, these operations are invariably very difficult, very complex, very time-consuming, very resource-intensive,” the Herald Sun quoted Rudd as telling ABC Television.

Rudd was speaking as the United States, Britain and France continue to pound Libya with air strikes and missiles as part of a United Nations-authorised intervention to stop Muammar Gaddafi’s bloody crackdown on a month-old anti-government rebellion.

One air strike today reportedly flattened a building in Colonel Gaddafi’s heavily fortified residence.

Rudd would not be drawn on whether he wanted the intervention to end in regime change.

“This is a very difficult operation. It has to be undertaken one step at a time. And therefore, to engage in wider speculation on the future of the regime, I’m not prepared to do that,” he said.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Colonel Gaddafi had been given the opportunity to stop the violence.

“He chose not to do that,” Gillard said.

Her comments followed those by US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said it would be “unwise” to have coalition forces go after Colonel Gaddafi.

Arab League secretary-general Amr Mussa has reportedly criticised the allied strikes on Libya even though he pushed for a no-fly zone.

Rudd said Mussa might have been misquoted or mistranslated. (ANI)

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