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Russia Envoy Told Qaddafi 'Not Ready' To Go


It is not yet clear what targets were hit in NATO's early morning strikes on Tripoli.
Libyan officials told visiting Russian diplomat Mikhail Margelov today that Muammar Qaddafi is "not ready" to give up power.

Russian news agencies carried the statement made by Margelov, the Africa envoy of President Dmitry Medvedev, after talks in Tripoli with Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelati al-Obeidi.

Margelov, who last week traveled to the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi, has said Russia would be prepared to offer a preliminary "road map" for settling the conflict.

NATO, meanwhile, carried out a series of air strikes today apparently targeting sites near Qaddafi's compound in Tripoli.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen today said in a speech to Spain's Senate that the alliance "prevented a massacre" in Libya.

Libyan officials told visiting Russian diplomat Mikhail Margelov today that
Muammar Qaddafi is "not ready" to give up power.

In Washington, top Republican lawmaker John Boehner hinted at a potential freeze of funds for U.S. military operations in Libya, saying White House had failed to justify its involvement.

In the face of Republican criticism, President Barack Obama insisted in a 30-page report to lawyers that the current U.S. military action in Libya was legal. And the White House argued U.S. participation in the NATO-led assault on Qaddafi's forces did not require congressional authorization as the U.S. role was only a supporting one.

But Boehner, speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, said he was not satisfied with the administration's arguments.

Lawmakers have protested that the White House did not seek congressional approval for U.S. involvement in Libya as set out in the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which requires direct, offensive warfare to be endorsed by Congress.

Earlier, Britain and NATO made calls to maintain military pressure to topple Qaddafi. After meeting in London on June 15 with Rasmussen, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Qaddafi was exhausting his options for remaining in power.

"The pressure is building militarily, diplomatically, politically and economically on Qaddafi," he said. "He is running out of time, running out of friends, his ministers are leaving him -- his oil minister's gone, his foreign minister has gone, the pressure is building. And I want us to keep up that pressure and I believe that we can help allow the Libyan people to choose their own future."

At the United Nations, Mauritanian Foreign Minister Hamady Ould Hamady, representing the African Union, called for a "humanitarian pause" in the conflict to allow aid supplies to reach civilians.

compiled from agency reports

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