19 Apr 2011

French want troops on ground in Libya

11:54 am on 19 April 2011

A senior French official says soldiers should be deployed on the ground in Libya to help guide NATO's air strikes in support of the Libyan opposition.

Foreign affairs committee chairman Axel Poniatowski says without forces on the ground, the NATO campaign could become bogged down.

The United Nations resolution authorising force to protect civilians in Libya forbids an occupation force on Libyan soil

But the BBC reports Mr Poniatowski as saying NATO pilots often find it difficult to differentiate between pro-government forces and the rebels from the air.

''The exclusive use of air power, as imposed on us by UN Security Council resolution 1973, has proved its limitations in the face of targets that are mobile and hard to track,'' he said.

Rebel convoys have been mistakenly bombed by NATO planes on at least two occasions.