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French foreign minister opposes ground troops in Libya

Posted by on April 20, 2011 0 Comment

Paris: French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Tuesday that he was “entirely hostile” to the idea of sending coalition ground troops into Libya, even special forces to guide air strikes.

Juppe made the comments at a lunch with reporters in Paris even as France’s chief ally in the conflict, Britain, said it was sending military trainers and after a senior French lawmaker called for commandos to be sent in.

“I remain, for my part, entirely hostile to the deployment of forces on the ground,” Juppe said, adding that Libya’s rebel movement should remain in charge of fighting Moamer Gaddafi’s loyalist forces on the ground.

Juppe brushed off a call from Axel Poniatowski, the influential chairman of the French parliament’s foreign affairs committee, for allied special forces to be sent to Libya to guide coalition special forces.

“It is for the Transitional National Council (TNC) and its troops to do this work,” he said, at a briefing for diplomatic correspondents. “They can play this role without it being necessary to send in ground troops.”

He also played down reports that French troops were already liaising with TNC commanders at their Benghazi headquarters, insisting that there was only a small French security team in the city to protect the French envoy. Zee News

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