Cameron stands firm on Libya as poll shows support for regime change

David Cameron stood strong on Libya today, brushing aside doubts from military top brass, and insisting the NATO alliance has "the Libyan people on our side".

David Cameron stood strong on Libya today, brushing aside doubts from military top brass, saying the heat was being turned up on Colonel Gaddafi and insisting the NATO alliance has “the Libyan people on our side”. The prime minister’s resolve comes as a poll of nearly 7,000 people in Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the US showed public support for regime change in Tripoli.

In answer to a question from the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Cameron told a Downing Street press conference this lunchtime:

“There are moments when I wake up and think ‘you do the fighting, I’ll do the talking’… Time is on our side, not Gaddafi’s. We are allied to some of the richest and most militarily capable countries in the world. We have the Libyan people on our side and we’ll keep going.

“The pressure [on Gaddafi] is turning up all the time: you can see that in the desertions from his regime, the pressure on the west of the country, the pockets of resistance that people had assumed would be snuffed out are growing in strength.

“Britain’s military are performing magnificently… morale and enthusiasm are very high because they know right is on their side.”

The poll, by Harris Interactive for the Financial Times (£), revealed (Europe, US):

Q: Do you support or oppose an extension of NATO’s military intervention in Libya to include regime change?








France 60% 12% 28%
Italy 56% 24% 20%
Spain 50% 20% 30%
Germany 57% 13% 30%
US 45% 16% 39%





However, there is opposition to an extension of the campaign to include bombing non-military targets, and there is opposition to the deployment of ground troops.

The FT reports (£):

At present, Nato’s operation remains firmly focused on hitting military targets on the ground, abiding by the UN resolution that requires the intervening force to protect Libyan civilians.

But even in the UK and France, the two countries playing the most prominent role in the campaign, objection is clear to any suggestion that Nato should broaden its targets to non-military sites.

Some 53 per cent of Britons and 65 per cent of the French opposed any widening to include bombing non-military targets such as the power supply in Tripoli. On the possible deployment of ground troops in Libya, 48 per cent of Britons and 51 per cent of French citizens opposed any such move.

Opposition was even stronger in the US, where 56 per cent of people opposed deploying ground troops.

However certain Mr Cameron is in asserting right is on our side, the Libyan people are on our side, though public support for regime change is apparent, there is still work to do to convince the doubters, both within the military and amongst the public, that this is a conflict that will not long be finished, that at the end of this conflict Gaddafi will be finished.

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