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Obama consults close allies on Libya

world Updated: Mar 23, 2011 14:42 IST

US President, Barack Obama, reached out to his close allies in Europe and the Middle East on the ongoing military operation against the Gaddafi regime, but there was no official word on the level of contact with key countries like Russia, China and India, who do not appear to be on the same page with him on Libya.

Obama telephoned British Prime Minister David Cameroon, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the Emir of Qatar in the last 24 hours, said the Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes.

In their telephonic conversation with the British and French leaders, Rhodes said Obama reviewed the substantial progress that's been made in terms of halting the advance of Qaddafi forces on Benghazi, as well as the establishment of a no-fly zone through the targeting of Qaddafi’s air defences and air assets.

"They also noted the continued effort that's going to need to be done to achieve the goals that are specified in UN Security Council Resolution 1973.

The leaders also agreed that NATO should play a key role in the command structure going forward for the enforcement of the no-fly zone," he said.

"The President had a good conversation with the Emir of Qatar this morning," Rhodes said.

"We continue to underscore that the coalition includes, but goes beyond us and our European allies, to include, for instance, all those nations who expressed strong political support in Paris, as well as nations like Qatar that have signaled that they'll make important contributions," he said.

"Turkey is an important NATO ally. I think Prime Minister Erdogan and the President had a good discussion last night where they agreed about the aims of the resolution.

And Turkey is a part of the discussions we're having about how this is going to be structured going forward," he said.

Earlier in the day, the White House said Obama and the Turkish leaders agreed that implementing the UN Security Council resolution with regard to Libya would require a broad based international coalition.

The two leaders spoke on Monday evening to continue consultations on the situation in Libya.

Obama expressed appreciation for Turkey’s ongoing humanitarian efforts in Libya, including its assistance in facilitating the release and safe passage to Tunisia of four New York Times journalists who had been detained in Libyan custody, the White House said.

"The leaders agreed that this will require a broad-based international effort, including Arab states, to implement and enforce the UN resolutions, based on national contributions and enabled by NATO's unique multinational command and control capabilities to ensure maximum effectiveness," the White House said.