Britain said Tuesday it will send a team of up 20 senior military officers to Libya to help organize the country’s haphazard opposition forces.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said the military advisers would join a group of British diplomats already cooperating with rebel leaders in Benghazi.
The decision ran into immediate opposition from a member of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party, Reuters reported.
“We are now looking at regime change and we are clearly backing the rebels,” Peter Bone, a Conservative M.P. said in an interview with Sky News. “We seem to be taking sides in a civil war. That may well be right but it’s not for the government to decide, it’s for parliament to decide.”
The decision by Britain’s National Security Council to deploy the military team comes as international allies search for ways to help the opposition end a military stalemate with forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, said he would meet with a rebel leader, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, in Paris on Wednesday to discuss ways to break the deadlock in the two-month conflict, Reuters reported. Mr. Jalil is expected to ask that NATO increase its air strikes, and could supply a list of names of officials in Tripoli with whom the opposition would be willing to work if Colonel Gaddafi departs, Reuters said, citing a source close to the Libyan opposition.