Washington, March 28 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said he does not know how long the no-fly zone might be in place in Libya, CBS News TV-channel reported.
The UN Security Council imposed the no-fly zone over Libya March 17, along with ordering “all necessary measures” to protect civilians from Muammar Gaddafi’s attacks on rebel-held towns.
“I don’t think anybody has any idea,” Gates said.
“I think the military mission has gone quite well,” he said. “I think we have been successful a lot,” Gates continued. “You know, there was never any doubt in my mind that we could quickly establish the no-fly zone, and suppress [Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s] air defences.”
The military operation in Libya, codenamed Odyssey Dawn, has been conducted so far jointly by 13 countries, including the US, Britain and France.
NATO ambassadors decided late Sunday to take over control of all UN-mandated military operations in Libya, including any air strikes that are carried out to protect civilians from embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi’s troops, DPA reported.
The military alliance had earlier already agreed to implement two other UN mandates – enforcing a no-fly zone over the North African country and patrolling an arms embargo in the Mediterranean.
Ambassadors from the 28 member states Sunday decided that NATO should also implement the mandate of taking “all necessary action” to protect civilians from attacks.