Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration sent mixed signals Wednesday on its stance on a no-fly zone in Libya, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying U.N. backing was essential while White House spokesman Jay Carney left the door open to the United States acting unilaterally or in concert with NATO allies.
Some critics, as well as top Democrats such as Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, have called for a stronger U.S. response to the Libya violence, including the possible imposition of a no-fly zone that would prevent Libyan military aircraft from attacking the Libyan people.
President Barack Obama has made clear he wants any military response to come from the international community, to prevent Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from blaming the United States for his predicament.
Clinton emphasized that point Wednesday in an interview with CBS News, saying the administration seeks to avoid "any room for anyone, including Col. Gadhafi, to say that 'This isn't about my people, this is about outsiders.' "
She noted that the British and French governments were bringing a draft resolution on international action to the United Nations, saying: "I think it's very important that there be a U.N. decision on whatever might be done."
"We believe it's important that this not be an American, or a NATO, or a European effort. It needs to be an international one," Clinton said.
Approval by the U.N. Security Council for international military intervention in Libya, including a no-fly zone, is considered unlikely due to expected opposition from China and Russia. Both countries are believed to be reluctant to set a precedent of U.N.-supported military action in an internal conflict.
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