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Oil Rises Above $98 Amid Bahrain, Libya Clashes

Oil prices rose to above $98 a barrel Wednesday in Asia as fears that clashes in Bahrain and Libya could further disrupt crude supplies outweighed concern Japan's disaster will crimp demand.

Benchmark crude for April delivery was up 97 cents at $98.15 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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France Confirms, Several Arab States Would Aid Libya Military Operation

Several Arab nations are prepared to take part in a military operation in Libya to stop the advance of leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe wrote on his blog on Wednesday.

"Only the threat of force can stop Gadhafi. It is by bombarding, with the few dozen planes and helicopters he really has, his opponents' positions that the Libyan dictator has turned the balance.

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Gadhafi Says Rebellion is 'Lost Cause'

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said the rebellion against his rule was a "lost cause", in an interview published on Tuesday, adding that he felt "betrayed" by former ally Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The rebels "have no hope, it's now a lost cause for them," Gadhafi said in an interview with Italian daily Il Giornale, as his forces made major advances on the ground into formerly rebel-held territory in eastern Libya.

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Nawaf Salam Says he’s Pessimistic but Vows to Protect Libya’s Civilians

Lebanon's U.N. Ambassador Nawaf Salam, who called for a Security Council meeting on imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, vowed to protect civilians in the country “as swiftly as possible.”

Lebanon is the only Arab nation on the 15-member council.

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Paris: Lebanon to Try Swaying Opponents of Libya No-Fly Zone

The U.N. Security Council on Monday held talks on Libya, as France said it hoped that Arab League support for a no-fly zone would be a "game-changer" in securing international action.

As he entered the talks, French envoy to the Security Council Gerard Araud said Lebanon -- as the current Arab representative on the Security Council -- would also be working to sway opponents of a no-fly zone, led by China and Russia.

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Libyan Regime: Zawiyah, Uqayla, Ras Lanuf, Brega Liberated, Army Marching to Cleanse Country

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi are "marching to cleanse the country" of insurgents, military spokesman Colonel Milad Hussein told a news conference on Sunday.

"Our raids are forcing the terrorists to flee. We have liberated Zawiyah, Uqayla, Ras Lanuf and Brega and the army is advancing to liberate the rest of the regions," he said.

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Arabs Meet on Libya as Gadhafi Pressure Mounts

The Arab League was to hold key talks on the conflict in member state Libya Saturday, predicted to back a no-fly zone over the country to ramp up the pressure on strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

Secretary General Amr Moussa called for a no-fly zone and said he wants the pan-Arab organization to play a role in imposing it, in an interview published Saturday.

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Tripoli Freezes Ties with Paris, Sarkozy Promises EU-AU-Arab League Summit on Libya

Libya decided on Friday to "suspend" diplomatic relations with France, Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaaim said at a press conference.

The Libyan government has slammed what it called France's "illegal" decision on Thursday to recognize Libya's rebels and warned that the move could lead to a break in relations.

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Libyan Rebels Battle to Retake Oil Town of Ras Lanuf

Libyan rebels battled troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi outside Ras Lanuf on Friday, finding themselves on the back foot and outgunned a day after the regime recaptured the key oil town.

As the two sides exchanged rocket and shell fire east of town, fighter jets screeched over rebel positions on bombing runs, hitting a building used as a checkpoint and setting ablaze an oil storage tank at a nearby refinery.

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Britain, France Ramp Up Pressure at EU Crisis Summit on Libya

Western powers ramped up pressure on Moammar Gadhafi Friday, with France calling for targeted strikes if he bombs his people, as a crisis summit exposed an EU rift over how to force the Libyan leader out.

The pivotal summit, capping 48 hours of talks also involving NATO defense ministers and European Union foreign ministers, opened with the 27-nation bloc divided over military action as well as a British-French push for formal recognition of Gadhafi's opponents.

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