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Arming Libyan rebels a possibility: White House

world Updated: Mar 08, 2011 08:30 IST

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Giving weapons to Libyan rebels seeking to oust longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi is under consideration as part of the international community's response to the crisis, the White House said Monday.

"On the issue of arming, providing weapons, it is one of the range of options that is being considered," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

The US government is reaching out to the opposition in Libya to ensure they are committed to building a democratic government respectful of human rights, and that they "believe what we believe the Libyan people want," Carney said.

"It would be premature to send a bunch of weapons to a post office box in eastern Libya," he said. "We need to not get ahead of ourselves in terms of the options we're pursuing."

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said at the moment it is "not a legal option" to send weapons to the rebels because a Feb 27 UN Security Council resolution placed an arms embargo on all groups in Libya.

"My understanding is that the UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Libya. It's not on the government of Libya. It's on Libya," he said.