White House hails Arab League no-fly zone request

In this photo taken during a government-organised visit for foreign media, a pro-Gadhafi fighter is seen beneath a plume of smoke from the burning oil refinery in Ras Lanouf, 380 miles (615 kilometers) southeast of the capital Tripoli, in Libya Saturday, March 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
In this photo taken during a government-organised visit for foreign media, a pro-Gadhafi fighter is seen beneath a plume of smoke from the burning oil refinery in Ras Lanouf, 380 miles (615 kilometers) southeast of the capital Tripoli, in Libya Saturday, March 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis) (Ben Curtis - AP)

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The Associated Press
Saturday, March 12, 2011; 5:40 PM

WASHINGTON -- The White House says the Arab League has taken an "important step" by asking the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and increasing international pressure on Moammar Gadhafi.

A statement from the White House says there's a clear international message that the violence in Libya must stop.

President Barack Obama has repeatedly called for Gadhafi to step down. But the U.S. has not been willing to impose a no-fly zone unilaterally. The White House says the U.S. will prepare for all contingencies and coordinate with allies.

The U.S. and its European allies wanted support from Arab countries to broaden the pressure on Libya. The Arab League wants the no-fly zone to protect civilians from air attack by Gadhafi's forces.


© 2011 The Associated Press

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