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Clinton To Meet With Libyan Rebel Leaders


Libyan rebel fighters run to give assistance to their comrades after a Qaddafi air strike east of Ras Lanuf

Libyan rebel fighters run to give assistance to their comrades after a Qaddafi air strike east of Ras Lanuf

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due to meet today in Paris with Libyan rebel leaders who are pressing for a no-fly zone over the country.

The Arab League backed the idea on March 12 and France said it will step up efforts at the UN Security Council to get support for the move.

Analysts, however, say Western governments may be hesitant to back a tactic that would require them to destroy Libya's air defenses and possibly shoot down planes.

On March 13, forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi battled rebel fighters for control of the strategic Libyan oil town of Brega.

Government forces said earlier that they had taken control of the town, but by nightfall rebels said they had retaken control.

It was impossible to verify either claim.

The rebels fighting to oust Qaddafi from power after more than 41 years in power have been inspired by protesters who toppled authoritarian rulers in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt, countries Clinton will visit on her current trip.

A week ago they held the entire eastern half of the country and were heading toward the capital, Tripoli.

Then Qaddafi's troops began reversing those early gains with superior weaponry and firepower from the air.

compiled from agency reports
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