Diplomats In Rome Discuss Aid To Libyan Rebels

Originally published on May 5, 2011 11:16 am
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SYLVIA POGGIOLI: Frattini did not give any specific sums, but rebel spokesman have said that they need at least 1. - one and a half million dollars.

WERTHEIMER: What about Secretary Clinton, did she have a contribution as well?

POGGIOLI: Clinton also said that the international community must increase the diplomatic and political isolation of the Gadhafi regime. And before the meeting, she was asked whether the U.S. was considering a raid against Gadhafi, like that against Osama bin Laden. And she replied that the best way to protect civilians in Libya is that Gadhafi stop attacking them and leave power. She said that is the outcome we are seeking.

WERTHEIMER: So, no talk about a military solution?

POGGIOLI: The meeting did not deal directly with military issues, but there was a great concern over the fate of civilians in the areas resisting Gadhafi's military forces, especially Misrata. Yesterday, an aid ship sent by the International Organization for Migration was the target of shelling by government forces as it tried to rescue hundreds of African and Asian migrant workers. It had been waiting, for days, to enter the port because of mines laid by the government. And ah - but it was finally able to leave with more than a thousand people on board.

WERTHEIMER: We're talking to NPR's Sylvia Poggioli, who's reporting from Rome. Sylvia, thank you very much.

POGGIOLI: Thank you, Linda.

WERTHEIMER: A spokesperson with International Organization for Migration said this was the sixth and most dangerous Misrata rescue mission sponsored by the group. Given the dangers, the group said it did not know when another ship might head to Misrata. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.