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In Europe, Deep Divisions Remain Over Libya

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

Here's NPR's Philip Reeves.

PHILIP REEVES: James Blitz, diplomatic editor of the Financial Times says others disagree.

JAMES BLITZ: The problem you've got is that there are two countries, France and Turkey in particular, which have never wanted there to be a very strong NATO hat over the whole operation.

REEVES: Turkey is a member of NATO. Yet, it's also strongly critical of aspects of U.S. and Western foreign policy, which is one reason why, says Blitz, Turkey doesn't want the alliance to be in charge.

BLITZ: Turkey's fundamental problem is it doesn't particularly like the idea of NATO getting involved in an incursion in Africa or the Middle East. And it's also got a very hostile approach to the international operation in Libya. It basically is highly resistant to what is happening.

REEVES: Jan Techau, a security policy expert with the Carnegie Endowment, says that would still mean NATO is center stage in the operation.

JAN TECHAU: The technical assets of NATO headquarters and command structures, that will always be the backbone of the operational kind of layer. And then the big question is about, you know, political leadership.

REEVES: The French want to play down NATO's involvement because they believe the Arab world dislikes the alliance. The sparse involvement of Arab nations is still one of the coalition's biggest worries. Britain's prime minister David Cameron told Parliament today that Qatar sent a couple of Mirage jets. He said Kuwait and Jordan are offering logistical help and he's been talking to Saudi Arabia. But Cameron said he would like more.

DAVID CAMERON: I hope further support will be forthcoming. But I would be clear about this - because we had to act so quickly on Saturday, it wasn't possible to bring forward as much Arab supporters perhaps would've been welcomed, I think, by everybody in this House.

REEVES: Techau says the question of who takes command of the Libya operation is just one of many issues facing the coalition. He thinks its long-term goals in Libya are still very unclear and need to be defined.

TECHAU: That's the next grand question that NATO has to answer. No matter what the compromise looks like that they're going to hammer out, the big question remains, what of the political goal in Libya?

REEVES: Philip Reeves, NPR News, London. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Philip Reeves is an award-winning international correspondent covering South America. Previously, he served as NPR's correspondent covering Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India.