NATO expected to decide to phase out Libya mission

By REUTERS
October 21, 2011 11:49

BRUSSELS - NATO nations are expected to decide on Friday to phase out the alliance's Libyan air and sea mission following the death of Muammar Gaddafi and the fall of his last strongholds, alliance officials and diplomats said.

NATO has been conducting air strikes, enforcing a no-fly zone and maintaining an arms embargo with naval patrols since March 31, in a UN-mandated operation to protect civilians.

A decision to gradually wind down the mission was expected to be taken at a meeting of ambassadors of the 28 NATO nations in Brussels starting at 1430 GMT, based on recommendations from NATO military commanders, alliance officials and diplomats said.

"It's likely they will decide to end the operation, but they will probably decide to do that over the next two weeks or so," one NATO diplomat said.

A NATO official said that at least some air operations would be maintained for the time being.


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