NATO ends its mission in Libya

Brussels: NATO Monday officially declared the end of military campaign in Libya, sealing of its seven-month mission in Libya.

“Today, at midnight Libyan time, a NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control Aircraft (AWACS) concluded the last flight of Operation Unified Protector. With this, a successful chapter in NATO’s history has come to an end,” Xinhua quoted the alliance saying in a statement.

“On 1 November 2011, all NATO AWACS will return to their home air base in Geilenkirchen, Germany. All other aircraft, ships and submarines which contributed to the mission will return home and revert back to national command,” it said.

NATO launched the Libya mission to carry out air raids, enforce a no-fly zone and maintain an arms embargo since March 31, under mandates from the UN.

In the last seven months, NATO aircraft conducted over 26,500 sorties, including over 9,700 strike sorties that destroyed about 5,900 military targets.

The UN Security Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution that will terminate Oct 31 the no-fly zone and civilian protection mandates last Thursday, while NATO Friday announced to end the Libya mission Oct 31.

The mission was terminated even though Libyan authorities have asked for the alliance to stay until the end of the year.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who paid an unexpected visit to Tripoli Monday, said that the alliance stands ready to help Libyans in the fields of security and defence reform, if needed and requested.



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