NATO's head says to keep up Libyan operation

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 12, 2011 7:34 AM
NATO's head says to keep up Libyan operation

LONDON (Reuters) - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday that it will continue its military operations in Libya while the threat to civilians persists, but did not see the alliance playing a major role in post-conflict Libya.

The NATO head told a conference in London that pockets of resistance remained despite the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi last month after a six-month uprising.

"We stand ready to continue our operations as long as necessary," he said.

Rasmussen also said he had no knowledge of Gaddafi's whereabouts, and that it was not a factor in deciding future operations.

"I have no knowledge of Gaddafi's whereabouts. His possible capture is not an element in whether we decide to continue operations (in Libya)," he said.

Forces loyal to Gaddafi continued to fight against armed supporters of Libya's National Transitional Council, the de facto rulers of the country.

Fierce street-by-street fighting was reported in the Gaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid, where NATO warplanes could be heard overhead, 150 km (95 miles) southeast of the capital.

(Reporting by Keith Weir; Editing by Louise Ireland)