Statement by the NATO Secretary General on the latest developments in Libya and Operation Unified Protector
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen : Good evening. We have met today with our operational partners to assess the situation in Libya. We agreed that our operations are very close to completion. And we have taken a preliminary decision to end Operation Unified Protector on the 31st of October. We will take a formal decision early next week. In the meantime I will continue consultations with the United Nations and the National Transitional Council.
We agreed that NATO will wind down the operation, during which period -that means until the 31st of October- NATO would monitor the situation and retain the capacity to respond to threats to civilians if needed.
I am very proud of what we have achieved, together with our partners, including many from the region. Our military forces prevented a massacre and saved countless lives. We created the conditions for the people of Libya to determine their own future. Their courage and determination in the cause of freedom is an inspiration to the world.
NATO launched Operation Unified Protector on the basis of a historic mandate from the United Nations -- to protect the people of Libya against attacks, and to enforce the no-fly zone and the arms embargo. Together with our partners, we have carried out that mandate with remarkable success. We mounted a complex operation with unprecedented speed and conducted it with the greatest of care. We worked closely with a wide range of international and regional partners. We were fast, flexible, effective and precise.
We did what we said we would do. Now is the time for the Libyan people to take their destiny fully into their own hands. To build a new inclusive Libya, based on democracy and reconciliation, human rights and the rule of law.
Let me say once again, how proud I am of what we have achieved together. This is a special moment in history, not only for the people of Libya and the wider region, but also for the NATO Alliance. It shows that freedom is the strongest force in the world.