NATO will now play an active role in the conflict in Libya. However, the alliance has limited its actions to enforcing the no-fly zone and arms embargo and protecting civilians against attack by Gaddafi’s forces. The coalition will remain responsible for all other aspects of the operation.
The decision follows days of fierce negotiations between the 28 member states. NATO Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said:
“We will co-operate closely with our partners in the region and we welcome their contributions.”
NATO is expected to start action in the next two to three days. There will be more cooperation from another Middle Eastern country, with the United Arab Emirates pledging to contribute 12 planes to the coalition force.
NATO’s involvement has been warmly welcomed by Washington. US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said: “NATO is well suited to coordinating this international effort and ensuring that all participating nations are working effectively together toward our shared goals. Gaddafi’s troops have been pushed back, but they remain a serious threat to the safety of the people.”
Though NATO will not be taking full military command in Libya, the alliance may yet play a larger part. Turkey’s Foreign Minister says talks are already under way about broadening NATO’s role.