30 Mar 2011

Obama not ruling out arming Libya's rebels

9:46 pm on 30 March 2011

United States President Barack Obama says he does not rule out arming the rebels seeking to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Accused by critics of launching military operations in Libya without a clear end in sight, Mr Obama said he believes the Western air assault and international sanctions have left Colonel Gaddafi greatly weakened.

He confirmed that the US would supply assistance to the colonel's opponents in the form of humanitarian aid, medical supplies and communications equipment.

But he emphasised that the Libyan campaign did not foreshadow military action in Syria or other countries where protests have been violently put down.

Several thousand people have been killed and thousands wounded since the uprising against the Gaddafi regime began more than six weeks ago.