In his press conference after the ministers met, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said “All of us agree: we have a responsibility to protect Libyan civilians against a brutal dictator. The United Nations gave a clear mandate to do it. The people of Libya desperately need it. And we are determined to do it. Because we will not stand idly by and watch a discredited regime attack its own people with tanks, rockets and snipers”
Ministers welcomed the outcome of the Contact Group meeting in Doha yesterday, and strongly endorsed its call for Gaddafi ‘to leave power’: ‘Gaddafi and his regime have lost all legitimacy through their comprehensive and repeated refusal to abide by UNSC Resolutions 1970 and 1973’. Insisting that there could not be a purely military solution to the current crisis, Ministers reiterated their strong support for the development of a political solution, as well as for ‘the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya’.
NATO, which has been commanding Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR since 31 March 2011, has been sustaining a high-tempo operation both at sea and in the air. Rasmussen reaffirmed this commitment “We will do so until all attacks and threats against civilians and civilian populated areas have stopped. We will do so until the regime has pulled back all its forces – including its snipers and its mercenaries – away from civilian centres and back to their bases. And until there is a credible and verifiable ceasefire, paving the way for a genuine political transition and respecting the legitimate aspirations of the people of Libya."