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NATO ends seven-month mission in Libya


NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (L) and Chairman of the Libyan National Transitional Council Mustafa Abdul Jalil attend the press conference after their meeting in Tripoli, Libya, Oct. 31, 2011. Rasmussen visited Libya on Monday and hailed the end of the alliance`s military intervention in Libya. (Xinhua/Qin Haishi)

BRUSSELS, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- NATO on 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," the alliance said 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 United Nations.

In the past 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 on Oct. 31 the no-fly zone and civilian protection mandates last Thursday, while NATO on Friday announced to end the Libya mission on 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 on Monday, said that the alliance stands ready to help Libyans in the fields of security and defense reform, if needed and requested.

Date:2011-11-1 13:41:31     
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