NATO: No forces around Libya after operations end

Updated: 2011-10-24 22:28


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BRUSSELS - NATO spokeswomen Oana Lungescu said on Monday that the military alliance has no intention of leaving forces around Libya following the end of the Libya mission.

"A very complex operation, such as the Unified Protector ... can't be turned on or off like a switch. This takes some time. But there is no intention of keeping armed forces in the neighborhood of Libya after the end of the operation," she told a press briefing.

Oana said NATO's decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council, has made a preliminary decision on Friday to wind down the mission until the end of this month, and a formal decision is expected to be made within days.

At the press briefing, Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, who commands NATO's Libya mission, said that it is up the NTC (National Transitional Council) forces to deal with possible pockets of resistance by remaining Gaddafi loyalists.

"Our assessment is that threats of organized attacks against population has been stopped. This is a very large country ... it's very likely that there will be individuals left out there ... such threats can be handled by NTC forces," he said via video link from NATO military headquarters in Naples, Italy.

"For us, it is quite appropriate to terminate the mission," he said.