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Press briefing by NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu and GpCapt Geoffrey Booth, Operations Division, International Military Staff - Opening remarks by the NATO Spokesperson

NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

25 Mar. 2011

Thank you very much for coming to NATO. Last night, NATO Allies decided to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya.

We are taking action as part of the broad international effort to protect civilians against attacks by the Gaddafi regime. We will cooperate with our partners in the region and welcome their contributions.

This is a very significant step taken by Allies in a short period of time. The UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973 only Thursday last week. So in the course of a single week, NATO Allies have launched both the arms embargo and the no-fly zone operations. This is a clear demonstration of Allies’ commitment to fulfil their obligations under the UN mandate and to show their resolve to do what it takes to protect the people of Libya.

As NATO’s No fly zone operation prepares to conduct missions over Libya, the coalition operation will continue to put pressure on the Libyan regime. Under Operation Unified Protector, NATO ships, submarines and jets are cutting the flow of arms and mercenaries to Gaddafi’s forces.

At the same time, NATO is actively considering whether to take on a broader role under the UN Security Council Resolution. Without prejudging the deliberations, we would expect a decision to take over all operationsin the next few days.

Our current mission is to close Libya's air-space to all flights except aid flights. NATO pilots and controllers will do everything they can to deny the Gaddafi regime any use of air power and they will do so with care and precision to avoid harming the people of Libya.

The direction of NATO military operations is the responsibility of the North Atlantic Council. Joint Forces Command Naples will command the operation.

We expect that Ministers will set the wide political guidance at next week's international conference in London to take forward the implementation of the UNSCR 1973. The NATO Secretary General will attend the London conference. NATO is acting as part of the broader international effort in support of the people of Libya.

I have with me Group Captain Geoffrey Booth, from NATO’s International Military Staff Operations Division – who will brief you on how No Fly zones operate.

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