Denmark to continue Libya operation

Denmark was to continue to contribute to a NATO-led mission over Libya, two cabinet members said Thursday after talks with parliamentary leaders.

'We agreed that Denmark should be patient and stand firm,' Foreign Minister Lene Espersen said after the meeting with foreign affairs and defence affairs spokesmen from other parties.

'We will continue to pile military pressure on (Moamer) Gaddafi and seek a political solution to the problems in Libya,' she added.

Former foreign minister Mogens Lykketoft of the opposition Social Democrats and Holger K Nielsen of the Socialist People's Party said it was unsatisfactory that Gaddafi was still in power. Parliament earlier this year approved the deployment of six F-16 jet fighters. The jets were to remain until October 1, when the current NATO mandate expires, the parties attending Thursday's meeting said.

Four of the jets take part in action, while two serve as backup planes.

Defence Minister Gitte Lillelund Bech, who also attended Thursday's meeting, earlier this week visited the base in Sicily from where the Danish jets operate.

Only one party, the leftist Unity List-the Red-Green Alliance, has been opposed to extending the operation.

Espersen said the parties also supported opening ties with the opposition Transitional National Council (TNC).

Earlier this week, the last two Libyan diplomats stationed in Denmark were ordered to leave the Scandinavian country.

Neighbouring Norway, a NATO member like Denmark, last week ended its jet fighter deployment in the Libya operation.

[Source: M&C, Copenhagen, 11Aug11]

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