Clinton and Rosenthal tighten Libyan sanctions

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In a joint press conference in Washington, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal have announced sanctions against Libya's leaders are to be tightened.

Secretary of State Clinton called for patience, pointing out how easy it is to expect a quick solution. In recent days, the situation in Libya appeared to have reached stalemate, with the rebels making little headway and heavy tolls of civilian deaths.

Mrs Clinton said it was significant that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's anti-aircraft guns, tanks and ammunition depots had been destroyed. Analysts, however, say the conflict may take a long time because the rebels are weak.

Minister Rosenthal refused to say how long he thought the NATO bombings will continue. He did say the Netherlands is prepared to send humanitarian help to the rebels, but The Hague is not willing to recognise the opposition's Transitional National Council based in Benghazi. The council has been officially recognised by France and Italy.

The two leaders condemned the violence and offered their condolences to the families of two US war photographers killed in Misrata on Wednesday. They called on Gaddafi to stop the fighting.

The joint press conference is believed to signify that recent irritations between the two countries have been ironed out. The Americans were thought to have not invited the Dutch to a G20 summit in Washington last week in response to The Hague ending a Dutch mission in Afghanistan last August.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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