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The World

April 14, 2011

NATO ministers: No Gadhafi in Libya's future

BERLIN — NATO nations stressed their common goals in Libya — bringing an end to Moammar Gadhafi's regime — instead of their differences Thursday as ministers met amid a rift over the scope of NATO's military operation in Libya.

The effort to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya tops the foreign ministers' agenda at the two-day meeting, which also will address efforts to hand over security responsibility in Afghanistan to local forces.

Three weeks of airstrikes haven't routed Gadhafi's forces, and France has said NATO isn't doing enough.

British and French officials also said Washington's military strength is needed to ensure the mission's success, but the Obama administration insists the U.S. will stick to its plan to remain in a supporting role. The Pentagon also noted Wednesday that Americans have flown 35 percent of all air missions over the last 10 days.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stressed that alliance members are "sharing the same goal, which is to see the end of the Gadhafi regime in Libya."

"We are contributing in many ways to see that goal realized," she said Thursday after meeting Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, whose country isn't taking part in the military operation and abstained in the U.N. vote authorizing it.

Opening the conference, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance and its partners "are fully engaged in operations to safeguard the people of Libya, taking every measure possible to prevent Gadhafi's brutal and systematic attacks on his own people."

The NATO-led operation is keeping up "a high operational tempo," he added.

France's foreign minister, Alain Juppe, struck a diplomatic tone as he met with his German counterpart, seeking to downplay differences and stressing the importance of an eventual "political solution."

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