Top French lawmaker urges commando mission in Libya

18th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

The influential chairman of the French parliament's foreign affairs committee on Monday called on France to send special forces troops to Libya to guide in air strikes.

Axel Poniatowski, a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy's majority party, warned NATO's campaign against Moamer Kadhafi's Libyan regime could become bogged down unless the allies put boots on the ground.

"The exclusive use of air power, as imposed on us by UN Security Council resolition 1973, has proved its limitations in the face of targets that are mobile and hard to track," he said, in a statement.

Poniatowksi said that from the air, NATO pilots found it hard to see the difference between pro-Kadhafi forces and the rebels that have risen up against him, who use the same weapons and pick-up trucks.

"Without information from the ground, coalition planes are flying blind and increasing the risk of friendly fire incidents," he said. NATO warplanes have accidentally bombed rebel convoys on at least two occasions.

France and its allies have been bombing Libyan forces for the past month under the authority of a United Nations resolution that explicitly forbids them from sending a "force of occupation" on Libyan soil.

But Pontiakowksi argued that special forces troops could be sent with a limited mission to guide in allied air strikes and designate ground targets without breaking the "spirit" of the resolution.

© 2011 AFP

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