Saturday, May 28, 2011

Libya war entering new phase: UK PM

Source: Press TV

The British government has defended its decision to deploy Apache helicopters to Libya, saying the NATO-led war in the North African country is entering a “new phase.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron told the Group of Eight (G8) summit in France that Britain was making "the right decision" to mount the pressure on Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi by sending Apache helicopters into the battlefield.

"Now there are signs that the momentum against Qaddafi is really building. So it is right that we are ratcheting up the military, the economic and the political pressure," Cameron said.

Cameron's comments on the Libya war followed earlier reports that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev offered to negotiate Qaddafi's resignation.

Senior Russian officials have said Moscow was ready to mediate in Libya, following a request from its G8 partners, and said Russia had contacts in Qaddafi's entourage with whom it could try to negotiate his departure.

"There have been many offers to mediate. I don't particularly recognize a Russian offer to mediate, that wasn't something I discussed in my meeting with Dmitry Medvedev," Cameron said.

"I think the most important thing is to send the same message back down the pipe, as it were, every time one of these offers appears. The message is Qaddafi has to go," he added.

The UK premier also referred to fuel shortages, growing unrest in the Libyan capital city of Tripoli and an increase in foreign military presence in Libya as signs that the conflict was entering a "new phase."

"All of these things add up to growing pressure, growing momentum and the sense that the regime is on the back foot," he said.

Britain and its Western allies invaded Libya under the pretext to protect the country's civilian population from being killed at the hands of Qaddafi troops, but are now openly describing a regime change in the country as to their best self-interest.

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