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Western Powers Opt for Further ‘No-Fly Zone’ Talks as Libyan Crisis Escalates

As the humanitarian situation in Libya deteriorates, forces loyal to Col Gaddafi have retaken both initiative and ground lost in the first round of protests. Counterattacks against rebel forces have been widespread in the last week, culminating in the recapture of Bin Jawad, an important stepping stone towards Ras Lanuf, a rebel-held oil town. Latest reports confirm that the town is under air and ground attack.

The international stage

As plans for an internationally implemented no-fly zone look set to be discussed by NATO on Thursday, the focus has shifted to the international forum. Col Gaddafi has agreed to let a human rights assessment team into Tripoli, after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said that the UN was worried that “…civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence, and [it] calls for an immediate halt to the government’s disproportionate use of force and indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets”. More than a thousand people have died in the violence and almost a quarter of a million have fled into neighbouring countries.

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