NATO chief envisions role in reconstruction of Libya

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Thursday envisioned a role for the military alliance in the reconstruction of Libya after the government of Muammar Gaddafi is toppled.

"In a post-Gaddafi era, I think we may still have a role to play in assisting a new Libyan government in the transition to a sustainable democracy," Rasmussen said in response to a question after making a speech on NATO at the Washington-based Johns Hopkins University.

"One of the areas where NATO has particular expertise is reform of the military and security sectors," he added, noting that a central part of transition to democracy is for the military and security sectors coming under "democratic control."

"To that end, we need reforms, and this is an area where NATO could assist," the NATO chief said.

Rasmussen is scheduled to meet U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Friday to discuss Libya, Afghanistan and other issues.

The United States handed over control of the military mission in Libya, which started in March 19 and includes enforcing a no- fly zone, arms embargo and air raids on Libyan government targets, to NATO in late March.

NATO has stepped up its bombing campaign and improved coordination with the Libyan opposition in recent days in an effort to break the stalemate on the ground between opposition forces and government troops.

[Source: Xinhua, Washington, 13May11]

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