NATO to end Libya military operations by end of the month

By REUTERS
October 21, 2011 23:04

"I'm very proud of what we have achieved," NATO chief says while explaining that until end of October NATO will monitor situation and retain capacity to respond to threats to civilians, if needed.

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Libya flag seen on top of a damaged building

Libya flag 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani)

BRUSSELS - NATO's military operations in Libya are very close to completion and the alliance's partners have taken a preliminary decision to end the campaign on Oct. 31, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Friday.

"We agreed that our operations are very close to completion and we have taken a preliminary decision to end Operation Unified Protector on Oct. 31," Rasmussen told a news conference after a meeting of NATO ambassadors in Brussels.

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"(Until Oct. 31) NATO will monitor the situation and retain the capacity to respond to threats to civilians, if needed," he added.

He said the alliance would take a formal decision early next week on ending the operation: "In the meantime, I will consult closely with the United Nations and the National Transitional Council."

"I'm very proud of what we have achieved, together with our partners, including many from the region," Rasmussen said.

Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, on the run for more than two months, was tracked down and killed in his hometown of Sirte on Thursday.

Asked about the fate of Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, he said NATO had no knowledge of his whereabouts.


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