NATO and partners will stay the course on Libya
Today, NATO Defence Ministers met with the Defence Ministers of the partner countries that are contributing to Operation Unified Protector to protect civilians in Libya.<!IoRangePreExecute>
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen concluded that “everyone at the table agreed: we have made clear progress. We have prevented a massacre, we have preserved innocent lives, and we have prepared the ground for a political settlement”.
In the meeting, all Ministers endorsed the decision to extend the operation for another 90 days, from the end of June. This sends a clear signal that NATO will stay the course and will keep up the pressure for as long as it takes to bring this crisis to an early conclusion. They strongly reaffirmed the goals laid out by Foreign Ministers in Berlin on 14 April that the Libyan regime must cease attacks on civilians; verifiably withdraw all its forces to bases; and allow immediate, full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access.
Secondly, they stressed their continuing commitment to the operation, including by providing the necessary capabilities to continue, and conclude, the operation.
Thirdly, Ministers agreed that the time has come to plan for the day after the conflict. They encouraged other key organisations, including the United Nations, the European Union, the League of Arab States, the African Union, to start planning for their efforts for an inmediate and longer term post-conflict period. “NATO stands ready to play a role, if requested and if necessary, in support of post-conflict efforts that should be iniated by the United Nations and the Contact Group on Libya”, the Secretary General said.
He also stressed that NATO does not envisage a leading role for the Alliance in a post-conflict Libya.