Diplomatic and Military Affairs

NATO sets goals for Libyan operation

Updated: 2011-04-15 06:38


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BERLIN - NATO and its partners will not end their operation in Libya until three objectives have been achieved, including the withdrawal of government troops, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday.

During a meeting, the foreign ministers from NATO members and their partners clearly phased out the military objectives of the mission, Rasmussen told reporters.

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"We are committed to all necessary resources, maximum operational flexibility within our mandate. A high operational tempo against legitimate targets will be maintained," he said.

Rasmussen stressed that the NATO would exert pressure as long as necessary until three objectives were achieved.

"First, all attacks and threats of attack against civilians and civilian-operated areas have ended," he said.  "Second, the regime has verifiably withdrawn to bases all military forces, including snipers, mercenaries and other para-military forces, including from all populated areas they have entered, occupied or besieged."

The third is that Libya should permit "immediate, full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all the people Libya in the need of assistance."

Responding to the reported rifts within the alliance on the scope of Libyan operation, Rasmussen said "I have to remind you that 34 nations have been involved in this operation. It shows our strong and shared commitment to fulfill our mandate and protect people of Libya."

NATO foreign ministers gathered in Berlin on Thursday and Friday with the Libyan conflicts high on their agenda, hoping to narrow divisions over the alliance-led military campaign in Libya, which were sunk into conflicting between troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi and rebel forces.


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