NATO mission in Libya isn't over yet

Oct. 7, 2011 at 10:31 AM   |   Comments

1 of 4
| License Photo
BRUSSELS, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Even though the end is in sight in terms of the Libyan conflict, the threat to civilians in the country remains, NATO officials said of continuing the mission.

The U.N. Security Council in March backed a resolution that sanctioned a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians from attack by forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. The International Criminal Court later found evidence to suggest Gadhafi and members of his inner circle had committed crimes against humanity since February.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told defense ministers in Brussels that remaining Gadhafi loyalists were fighting a lost cause but the mission, Operation Unified Protector, wasn't over.

"We are determined to pursue our operation as long as threats persist -- but to end it as soon as conditions permit," said Rasmussen in his remarks. "So we stand ready to terminate the mission when the political and military conditions are fulfilled."

Tripoli fell into rebel hands in August and much of the international community has now recognized the rebel-backed Transitional National Council as the sole governmental authority in Libya.

Defense officials earlier this week said the weak economy was jeopardizing defense budgets. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, however, that the economy "cannot be an excuse for walking away from our national security responsibilities."

Topics: Leon Panetta
© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Most Popular
Amish girls allegedly lured by captors with puppy
Kamala Harris to appeal court ruling against death penalty
U.S. files formal complaint with China after 'dangerous' fighter jet incident
Heather Mack, mother, argued in lobby before suitcase murder
Venezuela announces mandatory finger printing at supermarkets
Trending News