NATO defence ministers meet to debate ending of Libyan air war
Tripoli, Oct 6 (ANI): NATO defence ministers would debate on Thursday about when to declare an end to the air war in Libya amid concerns over mounting costs of the campaign and the vagueness of the alliance's war aims.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said the end of the war would not be determined by the fate of fugitive former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
"The key will be the protection of the civilian population, so when no threat exists against the civilian population then the time will have come to terminate our operation," The Guardian quoted Rasmussen, as saying at the start of the two-day meeting in Brussels, which will include Arab states involved in the campaign.
He said the decision would be based in part on an assessment of the ability of the new government in Tripoli to protect civilians, and would be taken in consultation with the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) and the United Nations (UN).
Pro-Gaddafi forces still hold parts of the towns of Sirte and Bani Walid, and alliance policy planners are now discussing a scenario in which Gaddafi loyalists could to give up.
In such a situation, the population would be under constant threat, but NATO aircraft would be almost powerless to intervene without the risk of causing yet more civilian deaths and injuries.
NATO officials are also concerned that fighting could break out among the factions that brought down Gaddafi's regime. (ANI)
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