France to step up strikes in Libya

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French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said the U.N. Security Council should weigh whether to send ground troops. “It’s a real question that merits international reflection,” he said after a Cabinet meeting Wednesday.

But Baroin said France would not request another U.N. resolution on the subject.

Abdel-Jalil insisted that the ragtag Libyan rebel force and fledgling opposition governing council would respect international norms if they emerge victorious in the battle with Gadhafi.

“We promise to the international community that we will work to build a democratic state where the chief of state arrives in power not on a tank, but by a ballot box,” he said. “We are also committed to working to fight terrorism and stop illegal immigration.”

Tensions over waves of illegal migrants from North Africa entering Europe in recent weeks have strained relations among European neighbors and clouded the international campaign in Libya.

NATO’s top military commander, U.S. Navy Adm. James Stavridis was in Prague for talks with Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg on Wednesday and Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra on Thursday. Stavridis’ visit comes as NATO is seeking to get military contributions from member states that have not participated in the campaign in Libya.

The Czech government has said earlier it was not planning to contribute troops for the NATO mission in Libya, partly because it has not been asked to do so.

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Alessandra Rizzo in Rome, Slobo Lekic in Brussels and Karel Janicek in Prague contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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