Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Germany pulls out of NATO operations

A file photo of German troops

Source: Press TV

Germany has pulled out of NATO operations in the Mediterranean due to the disagreement over the forces' mission in Libya.

The German defense ministry said on Tuesday that Berlin pulled out of any military operations in the Mediterranean following the Western military alliance's involvement in the Libya conflict, DPA reported.

A ministry spokesman said two frigates and two other ships with a crew of 550 would be reverted to German command.

Some 60 to 70 German troops participating in NATO-operated AWACS surveillance operations in the Mediterranean would also be withdrawn, according to the ministry.

Following the disputes among NATO members over the military intervention in Libya, they met in Brussels to mend differences over what role the alliance should play in Libya.

France says the takeover of the operations by NATO will alienate Arab states, however, Italy believes that NATO should take control of the military campaign in Libya.

Meanwhile, the head of the Italian Senate's defense affairs committee, Gianpiero Cantoni, said the French policy is motivated by a desire to secure oil contracts with a future Libyan government.

US President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron have agreed NATO should play an important role in the command structure of the Libya mission, the White House said.

"They reviewed the substantial progress that's been made in terms of halting the advance of Gaddafi's forces on Benghazi as well as the establishment of a no-fly zone," said White House spokesman Ben Rhodes.

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