Friday, September 2, 2011

NATO: Libya mission to continue

A US fighter jet takes off at the Aviano NATO airbase, in Aviano, Italy. (File photo)

Source: Press TV

Western leaders have agreed to continue the military mission in Libya "as long as necessary," NATO's secretary general says.

"We have announced that operations will continue as long as necessary, as long as there is a threat to civilians," Anders Fogh Rasmussen said after talks in Paris between Libyan interim leaders and the international community.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron whose governments led the military campaign in the North African country, stressed their warplanes would continue operations in Libya.

"NATO and our allies will continue our operations to implement UN resolutions ... as long as we are needed to protect civilian life," Cameron said, at a joint press conference with Sarkozy and Libya's interim leaders.

UN Resolution 1973 authorized a no-fly zone over Libya, permitting all necessary measures to protect civilians against Gaddafi forces.

The Western military alliance has carried out 21,090 sorties, including 7,920 strike sorties on targets claimed to be of military nature.

However, hundreds of Libyan civilians have reportedly lost their lives since NATO took command of airstrikes on March 31.

NATO airstrikes have also severely damaged Libya's infrastructure.

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