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International Leaders Say NATO Fights in Libya as Long as Necessary

| 02.09,11. 07:25 AM |


International Leaders Say NATO Fights in Libya as Long as Necessary

NATO's operation in Libya will continue for as long as the civilian population there is in danger, the alliance's Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and national leaders said Thursday.

"We have announced that operations will continue as long as necessary, as long as there is a threat to civilians," he said, after talks in Paris between Libyan rebel leaders and the international community.

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, whose militaries spearheaded Western support for the rebellion against Moammar Gadhafi, confirmed that their warplanes would stay in the air.

"NATO and our allies will continue our operations to implement U.N. resolutions ... as long as we are needed to protect civilian life," Cameron said, at a joint press conference with Sarkozy and Libya's interim leaders.

The countries meeting in Paris in support of Libya's rebel interim government also agreed to unblock $15 billion in frozen Libyan funds immediately, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy said.

"Today, France unfroze 1.5 billion euro of Libyan assets," Sarkozy said, before estimating the total sum released by world powers in the wake of Moammar Gadhafi's fall: "Around 15 billion dollars have been immediately unfrozen."

Sarkozi also stressed that Libyans should decide where Gadhafi is tried, urging Libya's rebels to pursue reconciliation.

The new Libyan authorities, the National Transitional Council (NTC) must begin a "process of reconciliation and forgiveness", he said..

"The participants are going to ask the NTC to undertake a process of reconciliation and of forgiveness so that the mistakes made in other countries in the past are recognized," the French president added.


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