France, Italy, UK to send military advisors to Libya

France, Italy, UK to send military advisors to Libya
# 20 April 2011 23:53 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. France and Italy announced today that they will join the United Kingdom in sending small teams of military advisers to eastern Libya, as the limits of the NATO air campaign, and the Libyan rebels’ abilities, to rout Moammar Gadhafi’s forces became apparent, APA reports quoting “The Envoy”.
The United States also announced today that it will provide $25 million in non-lethal assistance to the Libyan rebels.
The stepped up international assistance to the Libya rebels came as a protracted military stalemate has emerged on the ground despite the month-long NATO-led air campaign, with fears rising that the country could be divided. The humanitarian crisis in the besieged city of Misrata is particularly severe, with as many as 25 people reported killed on Sunday amid heavy fighting. Human rights groups also accused Gadhafi’s forces of using cluster bombs in the city.
The Italian defense minister said today that ten military advisers would be sent to Libya, while France will send fewer, the BBC reported.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced Tuesday that the UK would assign a military liaison advisory team to the eastern Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi. A British diplomatic team led by Christopher Prentice is already at work there, as well as an American diplomatic team led by Chris Stevens.
The additional European commitments came as the Obama White House for its part continued to express confidence in the current strategy.
National Security Council Senior Director for the Persian Gulf Puneet Talwar and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes briefed a group of Middle East experts and Arab American group representatives on Libya strategy Friday.
"They were pretty clear that [they think] the administration strategy — how the multiple layers work — the no-fly zone plus occasional strikes, the arms embargo, humanitarian assistance, and continued economic pressure — they think they have the strongest UN economic resolutions they have ever had" — will work, one expert who attended the briefing said on condition of anonymity discussing consultations with the administration.
"They want to stick with it and are counting on these pressures to tighten the noose on Gadhafi’s inner circle," pressure under which Gadhafi will eventually be pushed out, he said.
The British military liaison advisory team being sent to Benghazi "will be drawn from experienced British military officers," Hague said in a statement Tuesday. "In particular they will advise the [Libyan rebel Transitional National Council] on how to improve their military organisational structures, communications and logistics, including how best to distribute humanitarian aid and deliver medical assistance."