US unlikely to provide weapons to Libyan rebels

April 1st, 2011 - 2:16 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama Washington, April 1 (ANI): US President Barack Obama’s top two national security officials have indicated that America was unlikely to provide weapons to Libyan rebels, raising the possibility that France alone will arm the forces who are fighting against the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

The New York Times quoted Defence Secretary Robert Gates as saying that the United States should stick to offering communications, surveillance and other support, but added that the administration has no problem with other countries providing weapons to the rebels.

Gates said: “What the opposition needs as much as anything right now is some training, some command and control, and some organization,” adding that providing training and weapons is “not a unique capability for the United States, and as far as I’m concerned, somebody else can do that.”

An administration official has said that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also extremely cautious about arming the rebels over fears that they might be linked to al-Qaeda terrorists.

Earlier, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen had said that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution authorizing the air campaign in Libya did not permit individual countries to arm the rebels.

However, there was considerable disagreement within the military alliance, including from the United States, which has taken the position that the resolution does in fact allow arming them.

While Obama has said so far that he is still considering the option, France is the only nation that has said that it intends to supply arms to the anti-Gaddafi forces. (ANI)

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