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NATO Ready On Libya, But Waits On Other Powers …

  • March 11th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

nato-symbol.jpgNATO Defence Ministers on Thursday approved contingency planning for a “no-fly” zone over Libya as well as other options, to step up humanitarian work and the embargo on arms for Triploi.


The Australian Minister, Stephen Smith, attended ahead of Friday’s meeting on Afghanistan, where 46 states inside or outside of the NATO alliance, including Australia, are operating under a NATO command structure.

smith-stephen.jpgThe Defence Minister reiterated support for the “no fly zone” option on Libya voiced by the Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, nearly a fortnight ago, (see EUAustralia Online, 28.2.11).

On Opposition claims in Australia that the overall government position was more equivocating than indicated by Mr Rudd, he said the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, had supported it in parliament on 2.3.11.

At the same time the Defence Ministers meeting in Brussels, and the Australian government had reiterated that an air intervention would need to be sponsored by the United Nations Security Council, and wanted regional support also, from the Middle East.

“The Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and I have all said the Security Council should consider a no-fly zone over Libya”, he told Australian radio, 11.3.11.

“The weight of international law is very important and should be a starting point.”

Obtaining a resolution from the UN Security Council was a diplomatic process:

“Whether it is Russia or China … what they regard as an intervention in the affairs of a nation state is not taken lightly”, Mr Smith.

He said as well as support from all the major powers through the Security Council, the alliance also wanted regional backing from the Middle East.


Libya updates:

  • The French government moved ahead of European Union deliberations to formally recognise the opposition group in Libya, the National Council, as the legitimate authority there, displacing Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi.

It was expected to send an Ambassador to the rebel strong-point, Benghazi.

  • The EU has stiffened its sanctions, by extending the freeze on assets controlled by the Gaddafi government to include its sovereign wealth fund, derived heavily from oil sales.
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the foremost humanitarian agency for conflict situations, declared that Libya had entered into a phase of civil war, and said it had not been able to overcome many obstacles against getting aid into much of the country.
  • An Australian construction company executive detained by Libyan security authorities (see EUAustralia, 28.2.11) was released last week with assistance from Turkish diplomats.


afghanistan-australia-flag6.jpgThe NATO Defence Ministers, the Minister from Afghanistan and the other allies are debating the timetable for a full hand-over of control of security to the Afghan government.

The Australian Minister, Mr Smith, said operations were on track to achieve a successful hand-over in Uruzgan province, where Australia’s forces are concentrated, in the period 2012 to 2014.

“I think whether it is Uruzgan or Afghanistan we have made progress in terms of better security control”, he said.


North Atlantic treaty Organisation (NATO), “NATO Defence Ministers meet in Brussels”, “NATO ready to support international efforts on Libya”, 10.3.11., (11.3.11).