British military advisers set up 'joint operations centre' in Benghazi

Eleven British trainers have joined "significant numbers" of military advisers from France and Italy to help the Libya's rebel Transitional National Council set up an operational command structure capable of taking on the Gaddafi regime.

A senior European diplomat, active in building ties with the Benghazi based rebels, said that the creation of a "joint operations centre" with the help of Western trainers had increased "military capacity".

"The main job is to coordinate and make more effective the processing of military and tactical information back to Nato so air operations are based on the best information available," he said.

The admission will fuel concerns that Britain could be drawn into mission creep in Libya and appears to contradict William Hague's assurance that military advisers would not be involved in training rebel fighting forces.

"Nor will they be involved in the planning or execution of military operations or in the provision of any other form of operational military advice," the Foreign Secretary said when announcing the deployment last month.

[Source: By Bruno Waterfield, Brussels, The Telegraph, London, 18May11]

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