Brussels: The commander of NATO’s Libya operation on Tuesday said any scaling down of daily airstrikes was “not appropriate,” despite international calls for a negotiated end to the fighting.
Canadian Lt Gen Charles Bouchard said the bombing campaign in its 90th day today had achieved significant results. He said the situation in the opposition-held eastern part of Libya had normalized, and that attacks on civilians in the coastal town of Misrata and rebel-held enclaves in the west had been much reduced.
“Our aim is to stay the course until we have brought about … a cessation of all violence against the population,” Bouchard said in a televised news conference from his headquarters in Naples, Italy.
Asked if NATO would consider easing up on the air strikes in order to allow negotiations to start, Bouchard said: “No, I do not believe that any scaling down of the operation is appropriate or required at this time.”
NATO’s campaign was intended to deliver a sharp, devastating blow against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces and enable the opposition to quickly oust his regime. But with the campaign dragging on inconclusively, there have been increasing international calls for a negotiated end to the conflict.
The operation was originally authorized for a 90-day period, which expires today, but the alliance’s governing body has decided on a three-month extension. Zeenews