Having dragged their heels over supporting a no-fly zone in Libya, the US are now saying such a measure doesn’t go far enough and are urging the UN to authorise air strikes on pro-Gaddafi targets in the war torn country.

Washington’s ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said yesterday that a no-fly zone would have “inherent limitations” in protecting citizens from Pro-Gaddafi forces  and that the Obama administration was working hard to pass a new resolution, which would authorise the use of aerial bombing and naval bombardment of Gaddafi’s forces to help the rebels.

The US has been reluctant to endorse a no-fly zone which they believe would be powerless to stop killings on the ground.

In previous weeks Britain France and the Arab League have argued strenuously for no-fly zones saying that they would level the playing field for anti-Gaddafi rebels who have limited military resources.

The news comes as the battle for the rebel outpost of Benghazi looms. Rebel forces hold the Eastern Libyan town but Gaddafi’s forces are quickly advancing. Gaddafi’s forces have now recaptured most of the East from the rebels.

Britain has welcomed the apparent change of heart by the US government.

Foreign Minister Alistair Burt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“The urgency of the situation is clear. It is the very urgency of the situation that makes it imperative that something is done and something today.”

“There has been a significant change in the position of the White House. They realise that something needs to be done beyond the isolation and the warnings that have already effectively been given by the international community.”

The UN security council is planning to vote on the resolution later today.

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