Tuesday, July 12, 2011

French officials reauthorize Libya action

PARIS - Lawmakers reauthorized yesterday France’s participation in the NATO-led bombing operations in Libya that have been targeting the forces of Moammar Khadafy, while French officials said they were increasingly optimistic about the possibility of a negotiated end to the conflict.
“A political solution in Libya is more indispensable than ever, and it is beginning to take shape,’’ Prime Minister Francois Fillon told parliamentarians before the vote. He offered no details, except to say that such a solution would depend upon an “authentic and verifiable’’ cease-fire and “the departure of Colonel Khadafy from power.’’
After four months of French airstrikes and patrols over Libya under NATO’s auspices, the government was constitutionally bound to seek parliamentary approval to prolong military operations in the country. The lower house voted, 482 to 27, in favor of continuing operations, with seven abstentions. The upper house was to vote later yesterday; approval was considered a foregone conclusion.
While popular approval of French military involvement in Libya has waned somewhat since March, when President Nicolas Sarkozy led the charge for an intervention, about 50 percent remain supportive, according to opinion polls.
Foreign Minister Alain Juppe described what he called a “consensus on how to end the crisis’’ among NATO states as well as the African Union, which has said it would broker talks between Khadafy and the rebels.

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