President Barack Obama has appeared on television to justify America’s military involvement in Libya.
Responding to domestic criticism he frequently said the mission was in the US interest, there was no question of troops on the ground or regime change and the cost would be kept to the minimum as NATO took over.
“We are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges,” said the president. “But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act. That’s what has happened in Libya over the course of these last six weeks.”
On the ground the swift progress westward of Libyan rebels appears to have halted after pro-Gaddafi artillery drove them back from the city of Sirte.
Meanwhile Libyan television broadcast what it said was live footage of Muammar Gaddafi’s son Khamis. It was no doubt a bid to refute reports he was killed by a disaffected air force pilot who flew his plane into Gaddafi’s Tripoli compound.
And there is confusion over the fate of besieged Misrata – both rebels and pro-Gaddafi forces claim to control parts of the fiercely contested western city.