U.S. not necessarily to follow steps by allies on Libya: spokesman

08:54, April 20, 2011      

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Despite Britain's announcement to send military officers to advise Libyan rebels, it does not " necessarily" mean the U.S. will "follow suit," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Tuesday.

"They've been vital partners in this whole process. And we believe they're playing a very productive and constructive role," he told reporters, referring to U.S. allies such as Britain and France.

"But that doesn't mean necessarily that we're going to follow suit or bring our capabilities to bear where they're already bringing their capabilities to bear," Toner said when a reporter questioned him on America's inaction while Britain is sending military advisers and France has recognized the Libyan opposition.

British Foreign Minister William Hague said on Tuesday that the country is sending a group of military officers to Libya to advise rebel forces.

Toner argued that the U.S. continued to provide capabilities to "be helpful," and the key component right now is "civilian protection and no-fly zone."

He said the U.S. is also looking at other ways, including diplomatic pressure and financial sanctions, to pressure Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to "step aside."

He said convincing Gaddafi to leave does not necessarily need to be done "through the barrel of a gun."

"It can be done through diplomatic pressure, and we're continuing to look at ways to apply that pressure," he added.

While the Obama administration has insisted that no American military ground troops participate in the Libyan military operations, small groups of CIA operatives have been working in Libya for weeks as part of the efforts to fight Gaddafi's forces, according to a New York Times story on March 30.

The story, quoting American officials, said the CIA has inserted clandestine operatives into Libya to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and to contact and vet Libyan rebels.

Source: Xinhua
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