Divisions Appear Within Coalition Monitoring Libya

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The U.S. and its partners began air strikes against Libya over the weekend, and diplomatic divisions already are emerging. A number of nations are taking issue with their roles in the attacks.


Some divisions are emerging in the coalition that is facing Libya.

NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports that a number of nations are taking issue with their roles in the attacks.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI: NATO diplomats meet again today in Brussels after the French and German ambassadors walked out angrily on Monday. According to media reports, NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen criticized France for preventing NATO involvement, and Germany for not taking part in the operation against Libya.

There are said to be mounting complaints against France for allegedly launching the first attack on Libya without keeping its allies fully informed. Turkey, which sees itself as a bridge between Europe and the Muslim world, is angry it was not invited to an emergency weekend summit in Paris. And Italy is raising objections over the handling of the entire operation so far.

Foreign Minister Franco Frattini warned that if NATO does not take military control, Italy could resume its control of the seven air bases it authorized for the mission.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is under pressure from his coalition ally the Northern League, which is opposed to participation in enforcing the U.N.-mandated no-fly zone over Libya. The League fears reprisals: terrorism or a massive inflow of refugees. The diplomatic turmoil underscores mounting concerns over the mission itself: What is its ultimate goal? Protection of civilians, or also Gadhafi's elimination? And what happens afterwards?

Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, Rome.

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