US to consult India, other abstainers on Libya strikes

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : The US has said it would continue to consult India, Brazil and Germany, which abstained from voting on a UN Security Council resolution establishing a no-fly zone in Libya, on its implementation.

Support TwoCircles

“I mean, they’re obviously going to be consulted with moving forward,” State Department Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Monday when asked about the kind of support US was receiving from them on the operation in Libya.

“I’ll ask them to explain their votes. Beyond that, I don’t really have much to say other than that we’ll continue to consult with them,” he said.

Asked if there is going to be any repercussions for the abstentions, the spokesman responded with a flat “No”.

Pressed if there was any frustration with their action, Toner said: “Not that I’m aware of.”

Asked if there was a possibility for a diplomatic solution with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the US official echoing President Barack Obama said: “I think only in that he would leave power.”

Obama said in Chile Monday that Gaddafi “needs to go”, but asserted that the ongoing international air raids in support of a no-fly zone over Libya were not meant to achieve that goal.

“I have stated that it is US policy that Gaddafi needs to go. We’ve got a wide range of tools in addition to our military efforts to support that policy,” Obama said.

But he stressed that the current US military action was in support of an “international mandate” from the UN Security Council that specifically focused on the humanitarian threat posed by Gaddafi, and the US will stick to that mandate.

When the State Department was asked why Gaddafi was not the target, the spokesman said because that was not the goal of the UN resolution.

In reply to an unrelated question about WikiLeaks reports relating to India, Toner said he was “not aware of” any high-level contact between the US and India on the reported issues.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])