NATO to take control of Libyan no-fly zone

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Friday, March 25, 2011

NATO has agreed to take control of the no-fly zone in Libya as early as this weekend, after a unanimous vote to do so by all 28 member states.

Only the no-fly zone will be the responsibility of NATO forces; other military operations in Libya will remain under the control of the group of nations already involved. A two-level command system will be put in place, with political oversight being the responsibility of a new committee headed by NATO but also including other countries that are engaged in military operations in Libya. Deployment of military assets will fall under the purview of NATO alone.

An agreement was reached on Wednesday afternoon, after a conference call between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, British foreign secretary William Hague, French foreign minister Alain Juppe, and the Turkish foreign minister. This was proposed to the North Atlantic Council, and NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen later confirmed that all NATO members had agreed to implement it.

Turkey and France had previously disagreed over the issue of NATO control, with France opposed and Turkey in favor of having NATO command of military forces.

Hague said of the agreement that "this is a new coalition, put together very quickly for obvious reasons last week, and so there are bound to be issues to sort out in its management. But we are getting through those pretty well."

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