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NATO delays decision to conclude Libya mission


October 27, 2011 - Washington

NATO has postponed a decision to end its bombing campaign in Libya as it continues consultations with the United Nations and the country's interim government over how and when end the operation.

Last week, the alliance announced preliminary plans to phase out its mission on October 31. The North Atlantic Council, or NAC, NATO's governing body, was expected to formalize that decision on Wednesday.

But its spokeswoman Carmen Romero said NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was consulting with the United Nations and Libya's National Transitional Council over the decision, the Washington Post reports.

"The NAC will meet with partners on Friday to discuss our Libya mission and take a formal decision," Romero said, adding that there was an "ongoing process" in the UN Security Council.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that some Libyan leaders had called for NATO to continue its mission "during this interim as they try to establish some new governance."

Libya's deputy UN ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi had also asked the Security Council on Wednesday to hold up on lifting the no-fly zone and ending its authorization to protect civilians.

The paper, however, quoted a NATO official, as saying that the alliance had not received any formal request from the Libya's transitional government to prolong its air and naval patrols past the end of the month.

ANI

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