President Barack Obama says he has no doubt that the United States will be able to turn over control of military operations over Libya to an international coalition.
Mr. Obama said in El Salvador Tuesday that the unique capabilities of the U.S. military have already saved lives in Libya, but he said no military operation is without risk. Moammar Gadhafi had promised to show no mercy to rebels trying to overthrow him.
The White House says Mr. Obama spoke Tuesday to the French and British leaders who it says agree that NATO should play a key role in commanding the Libyan operations.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Tuesday the alliance is activating ships and aircraft in the Mediterranean to intercept vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries to Libya. However, NATO has been unable to agree on taking command of the no-fly zone over Libya.
Meanwhile, more countries have informed the U.N. Security Council that they are now taking part in operations over Libya — . Belgium, Norway, Spain, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates.
Romania has also said it will help enforce the Libyan arms embargo.
The United States has also imposed financial sanctions on 14 more Libyan oil company subsidiaries. This is in addition to the billions of dollars of sanctions already in place.
Mr. Obama also spoke earlier with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The White House says the two leaders agreed on the need for broad-based international effort, including Arab states.
Russian President Dmitri Medvedev told U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Moscow Tuesday that Russia is concerned about what he called “indiscriminate” force used by coalition aircraft enforcing the no-fly zone in Libya, and the possible risks to civilians.
Russia, a U.N. Security Council member, abstained from the vote authorizing the no-fly zone.