A strongly-worded joint declaration is published today on both sides of the Atlantic signed by Barack Obama, David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy in which they say allowing Colonel Gaddafi to stay in power would amount to a “betrayal” of the Libyan people.
Diplomacy to persuade Gaddafi to step aside appears to have failed, so the three weeks of air strikes look set to continue for the foreseeable future.
However amid diplomatic rows about the length and nature of military intervention by the allies, and complaints by Britain and France that NATO allies are not supplying enough hardware, the air strikes are proving incapable of stopping Gaddafi shelling civilians or weakening him to the extent that the rebels can overcome his forces.
Smoke hung over Tripoli again yesterday following the latest attacks, but the rebels are pleading for more as Gaddafi remains unbowed and confident enough to parade in his capital’s streets.
A NATO official said he believed another 10 planes were needed to ensure effective support from the air, while there is more talk of eventually arming the rebels, an option President Obama refuses to rule out, although others are more reluctant.