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NATO to continue Libya mission 'to protect civilians'

RIA Novosti

17:37 30/08/2011 BRUSSELS, August 30 (RIA Novosti) - The NATO operation in Libya is still necessary and will continue as long as threats to civilians remain, NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu said on Tuesday.

"The NATO mission is important, it has been effective, and it's still necessary - in order to protect civilians," she said.

"The mission will continue, in full compliance with the United Nations mandate for as long as it's needed - but not a day longer. It looks as if we are nearly there, but we're not there yet."

Once NATO's job is done, it is for others to take over the lead in supporting Libya, she continued, adding that NATO expected the United Nations to take the leading role.

The NATO secretary general will travel to Paris on Thursday, September 1 to take part in a senior level meeting on Libya, Lungescu said, adding that would be an opportunity to "further coordinate international support for the people of Libya, as they finally begin to hold their future in their own hands."

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