- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 22, 2011

BRITISH CLARITY

The Obama administration might seem confused about the war aims in Libya, but the British are as clear as Waterford crystal.

“We can’t imagine Libya having a successful future with Gadhafi in charge,” British Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald said this week. “He’s gone too far in ignoring the will of his people and subjecting them to really awful levels of violence.”

Mr. Sheinwald, speaking to business leaders on a trade mission to New Orleans on Monday, reflected comments from British Prime Minister David Cameron and Defense Secretary Liam Fox.

Mr. Fox on Sunday said Col. Moammar Gadhafiis a legitimate target in the air campaign launched over the weekend. Mr. Cameron defended Mr. Fox in Parliament on Monday.

France, which flew the first strikes in the air war, agrees that toppling Col. Gadhafi is one goal of the U.N.-authorized no-fly zone.

Gerard Araud, France’s U.N. ambassador, told ABC News on Sunday that removing Col. Gadhafi is a war aim. “It means Gadhafi has got to go,” he said.

France established diplomatic relations with the provisional rebel government in Benghazi before the airstrikes started.

President Obama on Monday repeated his call for Col. Gadhafi to step down but insisted the air campaign is aimed at protecting civilians, not removing the Libyan dictator.

TURKISH DIPLOMACY

Turkish Ambassador Namik Tan told reporters this week that his country now represents the United States in Libya and that the Turkish Embassy in Tripoli used its diplomatic clout to win the release of four New York Times journalists.

Mr. Tan said the Obama administration appealed to Turkey to look after U.S. diplomatic interests in Libya, after Washington suspended operations at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli and evacuated the staff last month.

“We responded to them that, if they designate us as the protective power of the U.S., then we can take this initiative,” Mr. Tan said.

Salim Levent Sahinkaya, Turkey’s ambassador to Libya, opened negotiations for the release of the journalists last week. Libyan forces, who detained them March 15, freed them Monday.

The State Department announced the temporary suspension of U.S. Embassy operations Feb. 25 because of “our inability to guarantee fully the safety and security of our diplomatic personnel in the country,” a spokesman said.

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