British defence minister heads to US for Libya talks

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British defence minister Liam Fox travelled to the United States on Monday for talks with his American counterpart Robert Gates on the conflict in Libya, defence officials in London said.

The head of the British armed forces, Chief of Defence Staff General David Richards, was also due in Washington and would meet with his US counterpart, a Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokeswoman said.

Discussions will focus on "how the campaign has gone so far and what further opportunities we can exploit on the ground there," the spokeswoman said.

Plans to step up precision targeting of Libyan forces following the deployment of US Predator drones would also be discussed, said the spokeswoman.

The United States carried out its first strikes using the pilotless aircraft at the weekend.

Britain, the US and France launched military action over Libya in March to enforce a UN resolution aimed at protecting civilians from Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi's forces, who were putting down an uprising against his rule.

NATO has since assumed command of the operation.

On Monday, NATO bombed Kadhafi's office in his Tripoli residence, while the besieged rebel-held city of Misrata came under fresh attacks from rockets.

© 2011 AFP

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