Libya
2:31 pm
Fri April 1, 2011

Kirk: Provide arms to Libyan rebels

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Luke Runyon used in this report.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says Libyan rebels should be given weapons to help them quickly overthrow Moammar Gadhafi's regime.

The Illinois Republican says furnishing weapons will help end the Libyan war and limit costs for the United States and its allies. 

Kirk spoke with reporters Friday. He says the conflict in Libya needs to be finished quickly. 

“When you’re in a conflict, make it rough, make it violent, so that it is over quickly," Kirk said. "If we win this war as fast as possible it will cost less. It will create less turmoil in the Arab world and it will calm international economies.”

NATO and some nations say an arms embargo rules out providing weapons to the Libyan rebels. But President Barack Obama's administration suggests arming them might be an option.

Kirk also says the United States should recognize the rebels as the legitimate representatives of Libya's people, as France has done.

Missouri's U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt has also voiced his approval to arm Libyan rebels.

Updated at 2:54 p.m. April 1, 2011 with comment from Kirk.