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State Dept: Arming Libyan rebels is illegal

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The State Department says it would be illegal for the U.S. to arm Libyan rebel groups.

"In the [United Nations] Security Council resolution passed on Libya, there is an arms embargo that affects Libya, which means it's a violation for any country to provide arms to anyone in Libya," State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said on Monday. "It's not a legal option."

But the White House is still discussing proposals to arm the rebels. As Crowley pointed out, resolutions can be amended.

"On the issue of... arming, providing weapons, it is one of the range of options that is being considered," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. But, he warned, "It would be premature to send a bunch of weapons to a P.O. Box in eastern Libya, we need to not get ahead of ourselves."

Crowley also said the U.S. will not release $30 billion of Col. Moammar Gadhafi's frozen U.S. assets to Libyans until they have established an interim government. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., has said the U.S. should release the money to Libyan rebels now.