Libya intervention not aimed at killing Kadhafi: France

4th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

International forces are seeking to weaken but not to kill Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi by bombarding his strategic sites, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Wednesday.

"Our aim is not to kill Kadhafi," Juppe said on news channel France 24, describing as "collateral damage" the death of one of the ruler's sons in a recent NATO air strike.

"We are targeting military sites in Tripoli" in an attempt to weaken Kadhafi's regime, which is in a fierce fight against rebels who are recognised by France.

"There is no question of getting bogged down in Libya," he added. "I hope that will last no longer than a few weeks, a few months at the most. But it is premature to talk of getting bogged down.

"We are carrying out strikes with the aim of destabilising Kadhafi's military capabilities and at the same time we are looking for a way to push for a political solution," Juppe said.

"We will continue with the strikes until we can neutralise this capability."

He rejected a ceasefire along the lines proposed by Kadhafi, which he said would risk partitioning the country between east and west. He insisted that Kadhafi's troops withdraw from towns they have occupied.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in an interview published Tuesday that France planned a conference of "friends of Libya" to work on political transition in the country. Paris recognises the rebels' Transitional National Council.

Juppe said that gathering would take place in the "coming weeks" and would be discussed by ministers at a Libya contact group in Rome on Thursday.

"The main aim is to develop a mechanism for financing the Transitional National Council," he said. "It is not very easy. There are Libyan assets that are frozen."

© 2011 AFP

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