From Ella Ide, AFP: Italy called for a suspension of hostilities in Libya on Wednesday in the latest sign of dissent within NATO as the civilian death toll mounts and Moamer Kadhafi shows no signs of quitting power.
"We have seen the effects of the crisis and therefore also of NATO action not only in eastern and southwestern regions but also in Tripoli," Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told a parliamentary committee meeting.
"I believe an immediate humanitarian suspension of hostilities is required in order to create effective humanitarian corridors," while negotiations should also continue on a more formal ceasefire and peace talks, he said.
"I think this is the most urgent and dramatic point," Frattini continued.
"I think it is legitimate to request ever more detailed information on the results" of the NATO mission, he added, condemning "the dramatic errors that hit civilians, which is clearly not an objective of the NATO mission."
France, which has taken the lead in military operations against Kadhafi, immediately ruled out any pause in the Libya campaign.
"The coalition and the countries that met as the Abu Dhabi contact group two weeks ago were unanimous on the strategy: we must intensify the pressure on Kadhafi," French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told reporters.
"Any pause in operations would risk allowing him to play for time and to reorganise. In the end, it would be the civilian population that would suffer from the smallest sign of weakness on our behalf," he said.
Despite repeated calls for unity within NATO on its air strikes, the strain has begun to show in the alliance and Norway’s recent decision to withdraw from operations sparked fears others may follow. (photo: Getty)