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Obama rules out U.S. ground troops in Libya

03-19-2011 10:45 BJT

WASHINGTON, March 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday explicitly ruled out deploying U.S. ground troops into Libya, saying the U.S. will act as part of an international coalition if Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi does not comply with the UN resolution.

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech to the press on the situation in Libya at the East Room of the White House in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, March 18, 2011. Obama on Friday explicitly ruled out deploying ground troops into Libya, saying the U.S. will act as part of an international coalition if Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi does not comply with the UN resolution. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)

"We are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal, specifically the protection of civilians in Libya," he said in a televised speech.

"Particularly at a time when our military is fighting in Afghanistan and winding down our activities in Iraq, that decision is only made more difficult," said Obama, referring to the use of military force.

If Gaddafi does not comply with the UN resolution, it will be enforced through military action, said Obama. "In this effort, the United States is prepared to act as part of an international effort."

He said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Paris on Saturday for a meeting on the enforcement of the resolution.

The UN Security Council on Thursday adopted a resolution to authorize a no-fly zone over Libya and called for "all necessary measures," excluding troops on the ground, to protect civilians under threat of attack in the North African country.

The resolution was adopted with 10 voting in favor and five abstentions. China and Russia, the two permanent members with veto power on the Council, and Brazil, Germany and India, the three non- permanent Council members, abstained from the voting on the draft resolution, which was presented by France, Lebanon, Britain and the United States.

Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa on Friday said his country has announced a cease-fire and halted all military operations, saying Libya is keen on protecting all civilians and foreigners.

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