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Press briefing on Libya

NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

13 May. 2011

Press briefing on Libya

Carmen Romero, the NATO Deputy Spokesperson and Wing Commander Mike Bracken, Military Spokesman for Operation Unified Protector

Carmen Romero (NATO Deputy Spokesperson): Good afternoon, and welcome to NATO HQ.

I welcome today Wing Commander Mike Bracken, who is joining us from Naples, the Headquarters for Operation Unified Protector. Mike Bracken is our new military Spokesperson and he will be briefing us and you on a regular basis from Naples from now.

A few remarks from my side on the political front, before we move to Naples for the operational update.

As you know, today the Secretary General will hold a meeting with US President Obama in Washington at the end of his visit to the United States.

Their discussions will focus on operations and on progress in Afghanistan and Libya.

During his visit to the US, the Secretary General has emphasised the vital importance of the trans-Atlantic bond. And he has also stressed that while the US brings unique capabilities to the Alliance, Europeans and Canadians are also making key contributions. Our Libya mission - where Europeans and Canadians provide most of the air assets - is a clear example of that . The meeting with President Obama will provide an important opportunity to exchange views and ideas as we also start to look ahead to the next NATO summit which, as you know, will be held in the US next year.

Now, let me say a few words on Libya.

Six weeks ago NATO and our partners launched a mission to protect civilians in that country. It is now almost three months since the regime threatened to destroy Benghazi and its people. It is two months since they attacked Ajdabiyah and Misrata. But the Gaddafi regime has failed to retake those cities by force. In Misrata, Gaddafi forces have been put on the back foot by those that have been defending the city and its vital port.

This illustrates a dynamic situation. There is definitely no stalemate. We are seeing real progress in our mission. NATO and our partners have kept a high operational tempo from the outset. We have taken out a significant part of Gaddafi's war machine.

We can see the effect across the country. Every day, it becomes harder for Gaddafi’s forces to launch and sustain their attacks on civilians.

And we are also having a political effect. The Gaddafi regime is more and more isolated. The pressure continues to increase -internationally and at home.

So every day, the regime's grip of fear is weakened.

And I can assure you that NATO allies and partners are determined to continue implementing the UN mandate until the mission is fulfilled. Now I hand over to Mike Bracken in Naples. Mike the floor is yours.


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