AJDABIYA, Libya —
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, however, told Congress on Thursday that the U.S. still knows little about the rebels, and that if anyone arms and trains them it should be some other country.
Asked by a lawmaker whether U.S. involvement might inevitably mean "boots on the ground" in Libya, Gates replied, "Not as long as I am in this job."
NATO is among those saying a new U.N. resolution would be required to arm rebels, though Britain and the U.S. disagree. Several world leaders oppose arming rebels, including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said in London that it could "create an environment which could be conducive to terrorism."
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's special envoy, Abdelilah Al-Khatib, arrived Thursday in Tripoli, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said. He was also expected to talk to the Libyan opposition, Haq said, without providing details.
Lucas reported from Ajdabiya, Libya. Ben Hubbard in Benghazi, John Heilprin in Geneva and Maggie Michael in Cairo contributed to this report.