Libya jitters intensify at Nato summit

By staff

Concerns about the international community’s intervention in Libya are increasing further as Nato foreign ministers meet in Berlin.

The urgency of the summit was intensified as Libyan rebels warned of a massacre in the besieged city of Misrata if Nato does not intervene, the Reuters news agency reported.

Divisions at the first meeting of the Libya contact group in Doha yesterday focused on whether a mandate existed to arm Libyan rebels.

Today attention is concentrating on the extent to which Nato countries are contributing aircraft to enforce the no-fly zone and impose the coalition’s strategic air superiority over Muammar Gaddafi’s regime more forcefully.

Yesterday David Cameron visited French president Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris to discuss the situation with their defence ministers and military commanders.

They discussed ways in which military pressure can be increased, agreed that Nato must continue to increase the momentum of action against Gaddafi’s heavy weapons and looked at how to increase support to the Libyan opposition to protect civilians, Downing Street said.

An increased contribution from the US is one option on the table, but Barack Obama’s administration is reluctant to take a leading role in the intervention.

The situation in Misrata remains critical. Shelling destroyed a cement factory and cargo containers earlier today, CNN reported.

One resident said: “There is a continuance of heavy shelling on the road leading to the seaport by Gaddafi’s forces and onto Misrata’s port using tanks. I couldn’t hear any Nato planes today.”