Nato won't return to Libya despite clashes

2012-01-27 07:47
Brussels - Nato has no intention of launching new air operations in Libya despite deadly clashes taking place in a former bastion of late dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the alliance chief said on Thursday.

Fighting erupted in the oasis town of Bani Walid earlier this week, three months after Nato ended its air war in Libya and declared it had accomplished its mission to protect the civilian population.

"We are not present in Libya and we have no intention to return," Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a news conference.

Rasmussen noted that the UN mandate that authorised the operation was no longer active. The seven-month Nato bombing mission crushed Gaddafi’s army, giving rebels an edge in the conflict.

"On October 31 we terminated the operation because we clearly assessed that we had done our job and done it successfully," he said. "This is also the reason why we have no intention to return. Our mission has been completed."

Libyan Defence Minister Osama Juili declared on Wednesday that Bani Walid was back under government control after Monday's violence left at least five people dead.

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