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US moves its forces closer to Libya

The United States began moving warships and aircraft closer to Libya yesterday and froze $30 billion in Libyan assets, ramping up pressure on Muammar Gaddafi to step down.

WASHINGTON – The United States began moving warships and aircraft closer to Libya yesterday and froze $30 billion in Libyan assets, ramping up pressure on Muammar Gaddafi to step down.

The ships could be used for humanitarian and rescue missions, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Geneva.

“There is not any pending military action involving U.S. naval vessels,” she said.

U.S. oil prices, which have risen due to the turmoil in the oil-producing country and unrest elsewhere in the region, did not respond to the news, trading down 80 cents at $97 a barrel.

“We are moving ships closer to Libya in case they are needed,” said Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman.

President Obama has said military action is one option it is looking at, although analysts say the United States is unlikely to launch an invasion or air strikes because of the volatile situation on the ground.

The Pentagon gave no details of the forces being moved, but its announcement was likely aimed at sending a signal to Gaddafi that the United States was matching its sharper rhetoric of recent days with action.

 
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