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Page last updated at 08:57 GMT, Tuesday, 22 March 2011

'Confusion' over Libya objectives

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The former head of the Royal Navy, Lord West, who also served as a security minister under Gordon Brown, has said that there is "some confusion" over the UK government's view of its objectives regarding Libya.

His comments come following apparent differences between the military and some senior politicians over how the UN resolution permitting the attacks should be interpreted.

The head of the army, General Sir David Richards, said a direct attempt on Colonel Gaddafi's life was not allowed while the Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, had indicated he was potentially a legitimate target.

But Lord West told Today presenter John Humphrys that "we are not into a campaign to hunt him down and kill" the Libyan leader.

And the BBC's political editor, Nick Robinson, told the programme that regime change in Libya is ruled out by UK "not only for legal reasons but for political reasons" including David Cameron's need to retain the support of the coalition at home and an international coalition abroad.

He added that the issue of legality "goes through every decision that's being taken" by the Ministry of Defence over targets in Libya.

The Libyan government has claimed civilians have been killed as coalition forces launched air and missile strikes on the capital Tripoli last night. Explosions and anti-aircraft fire could be heard across the city.


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