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Obama and Qatar Emir discuss Middle East and Libya

Washington, Apr 15 (): US President Barack Obama has described his meeting with  Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar in his Oval Office here as ” very useful.” Both discussed the current situation in Libya and the Middle East.

After terming the meeting  ”a very useful conversation”, Obama thanked Hamad for “the leadership that the Emir has shown when it comes to democracy in the Middle East,” and in particular in Libya.

” We would not have been able I think, to shape the kind of broad-based international coalition, that includes not only our NATO members but also includes Arab states without the Emir’s leadership. He is motivated by a belief that the Libyan people should have the rights and freedoms of all people,” Obama told reporters in a joint media availability with the Emir at his Oval Office.

The United States rebuffed a French request for US warplanes to resume major air raids in Libya, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said today in Berlin after talks with US counterpart Hillary Clinton. The United States pulled back around 50 combat planes from Libyan operations last week, after handing over control of the mission to NATO, but the Pentagon said yesterday that US planes attacked air defence targets three times since then.

The US military possesses AC-130 gunships, armed with highly-destructive cannons and high-firing machine guns.

“I discussed this with Mrs Clinton and they will continue along the same line, which is to provide planes on a case by case basis,” Juppe told reporters on the sidelines of a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Berlin.

“I told her we needed them back, we would have liked them to return,” he said.

Juppe said the US military has “particularly useful” assets at its disposal.