Libya: NTC Asks NATO to Extend Stay

Tripoli—Head of Libya’s interim National Transitional Council (NTC) has urged NATO to stay involved in Libya until end of this year to prevent loyalists of former leader Muammar Gaddafi from leaving the country.

Speaking during a meeting with the military alliance in the Qatari capital of Doha on Wednesday, interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said that stopping the flight of Col Gaddafi supporters to other countries was a priority.

“We look forward to NATO continuing its operations until the end of the year,” Jalil told reporters. “We seek technical and logistics help from neighbouring and friendly countries.”

NATO was instrumental in enforcing the UN Security Council resolution that sought to protect civilians under threat from Col Gaddafi’s forces. NATO has carried out over 26,000 air raids since start of the campaign in March 31, destroying over 5,900 military installations.

The Doha meeting was focusing on how NATO could help the provisional government to bring stability in the country after NATO hinted on Friday that it would wind up its campaign at the end of this month.

A meeting scheduled in Brussels on Wednesday to formalize the decision has been postponed to accommodate ongoing Doha Talks with the UN and NTC.

Qatar was one of the first countries to recognise the NTC as Libya’s legitimate authorities, providing it with support during months of fighting against Gaddafi’s loyalist forces. On Wednesday Qatari military chief revealed that the country had military personnel on the ground in Libya.

“We were among them and the numbers of Qataris on the ground were hundreds in every region,” major General Hamad bin Ali Al-Atiya, Qatar’s military chief of staff said.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has also said his country provided military aid to NTC during the revolutionary fighting. In his address on state TV, Bashir said Sudan’s move was in response to Col Gaddafi’s support for Sudanese rebels three years ago.

“The forces which entered Tripoli, part of their arms and capabilities, were 100 per cent Sudanese,” he said.

The Libyan authorities declared the country’s liberation on Sunday, two days after Col Gaddafi had been killed during battle for Sirte, one of his two remaining bastions following fall of Tripoli to the rebels in August.
Gaddafi was buried in unmarked grave in a secret location

In collaboration with News from Africa.


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