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NATO Ministers determined to pursue operation in Libya as long as threats persist

NATO Defence Ministers and Partners involved in Operation Unified Protector today in Brussels discussed the prospects for ending the mission for Libya. Ministers affirmed that the time for terminating Operation Unified Protector is approaching but that the mission is not over yet.

“It is clear that the end is in sight. Qadhafi forces are fighting for a lost cause. The threat to civilians is fading away . The recent positive developments in Libya are irreversible ”, the Secretary General said after the meeting.

Ministers emphasized that the positive trend in Libya is irreversible but that not all of Libya’s population is yet safe from attacks by Qadhafi forces. Ministers therefore reiterated their commitment to continue the mission under the United Nations mandate for as long as necessary but their determination to bring it to an end as soon as possible. They also affirmed their solid commitment to continue fully resourcing the operation until completion.

"We are determined to pursue our operation as long as threats persist -but to end it as soon as conditions permit. So we stand ready to terminate the mission when the political and military conditions are fulfilled", Rasmussen stressed.

NATO Defence Ministers expressed their gratitude to the Alliance’s operational Partners for their invaluable participation in Operation Unified Protector. “Operation Unified Protector has taken cooperation between Allies and Partners to a new level, both politically and operationally, thus enhancing the prospects for further deepening our partnerships. We are therefore looking forward to continuing this close working relationship on other issues of common interest” the Secretary General said.

In the longer term, Ministers expressed their willingness to support the new Libyan authorities with defence and security sector reforms, should Alliance support be requested. Ministers concluded by vowing to keep the situation under continuous review with the intent of concluding the operation as soon as conditions permit.

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