Brussels, March 25 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will send 12 aircraft to support the international coalition in the mission to protect civilians from attacks by Gaddafi forces in Libya, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said.
“I spoke to the crown prince of the UAE, who told me that the Emirates have decided to commit 12 planes to the coalition,” Sarkozy said on the sidelines of a two-day European Union summit in Brussels.
The UAE is the second Arab country to send aircraft to the coalition after Qatar, which sent two fighter jets and two military transport planes to one of the airbases in the Mediterranean.
The UN Security Council imposed a 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.
The military operation in Libya – codenamed Odyssey Dawn – has been conducted so far jointly by 13 states, including the US, Britain and France.
NATO members agreed Thursday to assume responsibility for the enforcement of the no-fly zone in Libya, but the coalition forces will continue to carry out the bulk of air strike missions against Gaddafi’s ground troops.
Western warplanes have flown more than 300 sorties over the North African country and fired 162 Tomahawk missiles in the UN mission.