NATO chief stresses keeping military pressure on Gaddafi

More than three month after Western countries launched military operations in Libya, NATO Secretary General Rasmussen said here Thursday that the main objective of the campaign remains unchanged: force Gaddafi to leave power. Rasmussen made the remarks at a press conference after talks with Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger. "The message to Gaddafi's regime is very clear. Your time is up, it's time to leave. I do believe that continued, strong military pressure on Gaddafi's regime is the best way to facilitate the political solution to the conflicts in Libya," Rasmussen said.

Admitting that military measures alone could not end the conflicts, Rasmussen stressed that military pressure will reinforce political pressure on Gaddafi, and the combination of both pressures will lead to the collapse of the regime.

He said NATO has all the resources as long as it needs to successfully achieve the goal.

Responding to questions about France's airdropping weapons to Libya's opposition forces, Rasmussen insisted that NATO operations is still within the mandate of the UN resolution to protect civilians.

Opposition forces do the fighting, and NATO will not deploy ground troops in Libya, he said.

Earlier on Thursday, Libya's opposition leader Mahmoud Jebril also appeared at a press conference hosted by Austrian Foreign Ministry, calling for urgent financial and military aids from the outside world for anti-Gaddafi camp.

[Source: Xinhua, Vienna, 30Jun11]

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