Tuesday 20 February 2018

British furious at Sarkozy's plan for air strikes

Bruno Waterfield in Brussels

French president Nicolas Sarkozy will call for "targeted air strikes" today on Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's key military command headquarters.

His appeal comes as splits emerge within the European Union and Nato over preparations for military intervention in Libya.

British Prime Minister David Cameron will tell a summit of European leaders in Brussels that "Gaddafi must go now" and it is time for the EU to strip him of diplomatic status as a head of state.

But Mr Cameron and the French president will clash over France's attempt to seize international leadership by detailing surgical strikes on Col Gaddafi's military assets.

EU foreign ministers and Nato defence ministers meeting in Brussels yesterday discussed imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. But British and French calls for action were opposed by Germany.

As Col Gaddafi's forces stepped up rocket attacks on rebels, the EU agreed new sanctions that would "cut off the tap" of oil revenues, worth €582m over the past three weeks.

The EU added five financial institutions, including the €46bn Libyan Investment Authority, Libya's central bank and national oil company, to its sanctions list, which includes Col Gaddafi, his family and senior officials.

British officials said the government was sceptical of any suggestion about air strikes. British ministers believe the suggestion is a theatrical gesture by Mr Sarkozy which has little support across Europe.

Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, led EU and Nato opposition to a no-fly zone. © Daily Telegraph, London

Irish Independent

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