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March 24th, 2011
08:15 PM ET

NATO may go for enforcement of 'no-fly plus'

CNN Wire Staff

Washington (CNN) - All 28 NATO allies have authorized military authorities to develop a plan for NATO to take on the broader mission of civilian protection under U.N. Resolution 1973, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday.

Clinton said she will travel to London to attend an international meeting on Libya on Tuesday.

She made her comments to reporters shortly after Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told CNN that NATO had agreed to take command of enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya and was considering taking control of the full U.N.-backed military mission.

Rasmussen's announcement fell short of what U.S. President Barack Obama has sought, and it was unclear if concerns by Turkey and some other NATO allies over coalition airstrikes on Libyan ground forces would prevent NATO from agreeing to expand its command over the entire mission.

"What we have decided today is that NATO will enforce the no-fly zone," Rasmussen told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "We are considering whether NATO should take on overall responsibility. That decision has not been made yet."

Rasmussen said he expected NATO to decide on the issue "within the coming days."

Asked if the announcement revealed a split in NATO over the mission, Rasmussen said no.

However, he also acknowledged that, if unaltered, the agreement would mean the overall Libyan mission would have two parts, with NATO enforcing the no-fly zone and the U.S.-led coalition that launched the mission handling a naval blockade and airstrikes.

The U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the mission includes a section that allows coalition forces to take other steps as necessary to protect Libyan civilians. So far, the U.S.-led coalition has interpreted that to include airstrikes on Libyan ground forces threatening the rebel stronghold of Benghazi and in other areas.

NATO sources said Turkey was uncomfortable with such a role and raised concerns about that at Thursday's meeting.

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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Victor

    Anderson: Every military man knows what must be done in Libya: Land ground troops in rebel-held territory and provide arms to them. Include in our own ground forces heavy artillery, anti-tank weaponry and our own tanks. 10,000 troops will wipe out Libyan forces in three weeks and Libya will be free of Khadafi.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:01 am |
  2. Victor

    Anderson: Any Air Force cadet will tell you that planes do not win wars, ground troops do.
    As for the rebels, who are they? Simple. They are Frenchmen during the French Revolution, Russians during theirs, Americans, Tunisians, Syrians, and every other world citizen seeking freedom, democracy and peace.

    March 24, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  3. M. Elizabeth Duggan, Whitby Canada

    Why is the UN coalition tip-toeing around about what to do with Gadhafi, he is a war criminal, for years he has brutally massacre people, been responsible for terrorist attacks ie: Lockerbee. What else is this dictator capable of, should the world take a chance, put a price on his head and have him arrested and tried at the Hague

    March 24, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
  4. Annie Kate

    The no-fly zone seems to be working good so far but are we going to supply the rebels with better weapons to give them a chance against Gadhafi's forces? Without that we are just postponing the inevitable....

    March 24, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
  5. Sanjeeda Ahmed

    Is anybody wondering where Saif Khadafi is? He was giving interviews almost every day but now, he has disappeared, hopefully from the face of this earth. Good riddance.

    March 24, 2011 at 9:13 pm |