NATO Secretary General's statement on Libya no-fly zone
NATO Allies have now decided to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya.
We are taking action as part of the broad international effort to protect civilians against the attacks by the Gaddafi regime. We will cooperate with our partners in the region and welcome their contributions.
All NATO Allies are committed to fulfill their obligations under the UN resolution. That is why we have decided to assume responsibility for the no-fly zone.
At this moment there will still be a coalition operation and a NATO operation but we are considering whether NATO should take on a broader responsibility in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution. But that decision has not been made yet.
Through the chain of command NATO and the Coalition will ensure close coordination and de-confliction.
Reporter: Mr. Secretary, there has been a lot of concern about civilian casualties and it's been mentioned that ... it was a particular concern to Turkey. Could you tell us about some of the deliberations you had in the Council?
NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen : No, we have had very very positive deliberations. It is of utmost importance to get this right. It’s a serious decision, and this is the reason why we have spent some time to reach this conclusion, but compared to the past we have actually done it quite quickly.
Associated Press: Secretary-General, has NATO agreed to take on the responsibilities in this No-Fly Zone, including on continuing the bombing campaign started by the international coalition?
NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen : What we have decided tonight is to take the responsibility for enforcing the No-Fly Zone with the aim to protect the civilian population, and the mandate doesn't go beyond that, of course we can act in self-defence, but what we will do is to enforce the No-Fly Zone and ensure that we protect the civilian population.
Oana Lungescu (NATO Spokesperson): Thank you very much. Another one? One last question.
Reporter: Does that mean that if members of the so-called coalition, say France, would like to strike against troops of Ghadaffi’s moving in on civilian targets, that would be part of the mission that NATO overtakes at this moment?
NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen : At this moment, there will still be a coalition operation and a NATO operation. But we are considering whether NATO should take on that broader responsibility in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution, but that decision has not been made yet.
Reporter: How do you coordinate then between the coalition and NATO forces for the No-Fly Zone?
NATO Secretary-General Rasmussen : That would take place through the chain of command and we will ensure close coordination and deconfliction.
Oana Lungescu: And with that thank you very much and a very good night.