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Rasmussen says no NATO ground troops for Libya

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Rasmussen says no NATO ground troops for Libya

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Euronews asked NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen for a clear view of alliance-led military activity. Our correspondent in Brussels made reference to the negotiations leading up to the decision to take overall responsibility for coordinating coalition intervention. These negotiations were stretched out by national differences over specifics in the UN operating mandate.

Sergio Cantone, euronews:
Secretary General, what will be NATO’s role in this Libyan crisis?

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General:
NATO’s role will be to implement fully the UN Security Council resolution, and that is to protect civilians against any attack.

euronews:
But there is not really a common approach about the interpretation of UN resolution 1973 on the use of force; how will Nato deal with this difference of opinion among its member states?

Rasmussen:
Actually all the 28 allies have agreed the overall plan, the overall framework within the UN mandate, and then of course it’s for the operational commanders on the ground to take daily decisions. But all 28 allies have agreed the overall framework. The fact is that the UN Security Council has adopted a resolution and it is a binding and all 28 allies feel obliged to live up fully to this UN mandate. We also attach strong importance to the involvement of partners in the region. It is very important to keep this as a broad international effort to protect civilians against attacks.

euronews:
What do you expect from the meeting in London on Tuesday, about political decision-making?

Rasmussen:
I would expect the London conference to provide an overall political framework for the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution, because the situation in Libya is not only a military challenge, it is first and foremost a political challenge, and I find it very useful that the international community provides an overall framework within which we can operate.

euronews:
Does NATO have a mandate from the UN to topple Gaddafi?

Rasmussen:
Our mandate is to protect civilians against attacks, no less, no more. And we are there to protect civilians, just that.

euronews:
So, what do you think about those member states of NATO who think that they should topple Gaddafi?

Rasmussen:
I think it’s for the Libyan people to decide the future of Libya, and obviously we all hope to see a peaceful solution to the problems in Libya. I hope to see a ceasefire as soon as possible, and a peaceful transition to democracy in Libya. Let me add that we also fully respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Libya as a state.

euronews:
According to some military sources of NATO’s countries, it will be impossible to fully protect civilians only by the use of air power, so at a certain stage a military intervention on the ground, with infantry, will be needed; do you share this opinion?

Rasmussen:
The UN mandate does not authorise the use of forces on the ground. We are there to protect civilians against attack. We are there to implement a no-fly zone; we have no intention of putting troops on the ground.