Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday the United States is taking the next step in military operations against Libya by transferring command and control of the no-fly zone to NATO.
Clinton said the alliance eventually would protect Libyan civilians, enforce the U.N. arms embargo on the North African country and support humanitarian aid efforts there.
"We are taking the next step: We have agreed along with our NATO allies to transition command and control for the no-fly zone over Libya to NATO," she said. "All 28 allies have also now authorized military authorities to develop an operations plan for NATO to take on the broader civilian protection mission."
The U.S had hoped the alliance could have reached consensus on Thursday for NATO to take full control of the military operation that was authorized by the United Nations, including the protection of Libyan civilians and supporting humanitarian aid efforts on the ground. It was not immediately clear when the allies could reach agreement on the matter.
Clinton also praised the United Arab Emirates for becoming the second Arab country after Qatar to send planes to help the mission. The U.A.E. will deploy 12 planes.
Clinton said she will travel to London next week to coordinate the strategy and military operation against Moammar Gadhafi's regime.