NATO to continue Libya operation 'as long as necessary'

NATO will continue its mission in Libya for as long as it takes, the alliance said on Wednesday, after formally endorsing an extension of its campaign for a further three months from June 27.

The allies have intensified their efforts and are determined to continue the operation to protect the Libyan people "for as long as necessary."

NATO defense ministers met with non-NATO contributors to Operation Unified Protector to take stock of the situation in Libya and reaffirm their commitment to support the enforcement of UNSC Resolutions 1970 and 1973.

"These provide a clear mandate to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack, and to enforce the no-fly zone and arms embargo," they said.

The operation aims to bring about a speedy resolution to the crisis, put an end to the violence, and allow the Libyan people to freely determine their own future.

"Our operation continues to enjoy strong regional support and to benefit from invaluable contributions from non-NATO partners," the ministers said.

NATO claims it has seriously degraded the ability of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to attack civilians and relieved the pressure on civilian populated areas.

"We have therefore extended Operation Unified Protector for a further 90 days from 27 June."

NATO has "a clear UN mandate and the means and determination to see it through," the alliance said.

[Source: RIA Novosti, Moscow, 08Jun11]

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