Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Nato should stay in Libya, says Jalil

Nato should remain involved in Libya until the end of the year to help prevent Gaddafi loyalists from leaving the country, interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said at a meeting with the military alliance in Qatar on Wednesday.
Nato, whose air strikes backed rebel forces that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi in August, is to decide on Friday whether to end its mission following Gaddafi's death and burial in the past week and a declaration by the National Transitional Council (NTC) that Libya had been "liberated".
"We look forward to Nato continuing its operations until the end of the year," said Jalil, adding that stopping the flight of Gaddafi supporters to other countries was a priority. "We seek technical and logistics help from neighbouring and friendly countries," he said.
Qatar was one of the first countries to recognise the NTC as the legitimate authority in Libya and supplied rebel fighters with water, weapons and more than $400m (£250m) in aid. Qatar also provided help in marketing and selling Libyan oil.
In Brussels on Wednesday, a Nato official said the alliance had postponed until Friday a meeting of its ambassadors that had been scheduled for Wednesday and was expected to agree to end its Libya mission.
"The Libya discussion has been moved to Friday to accommodate the ongoing consultations with the United Nations and the National Transitional Council," the Nato official said.
Nato states took a preliminary decision last Friday to wind up the mission in Libya on 31 October and the commander of the operation said on Tuesday that the alliance believed NTC forces would be capable of handing security threats.
But the Libyan interim oil and finance minister, Ali Tarhouni, said on Tuesday he wanted Nato to maintain its mission for another month.

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