NATO vows to enforce Libya embargo "robustly"

Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:36am GMT

* NATO will use force if needed, head of operation says

* Embargo to block arms, mercenaries from entering Libya

* 7 countries have joined operation so far

By Philip Pullella

NAPLES, March 24 (Reuters) - NATO will enforce the arms and mercenaries blockade on Libya "robustly," with force if needed, and hopes more nations will join those who have committed ships, planes and submarines, the operation head said on Thursday.

"We will ensure the free flow of legitimate shipping which the people of Libya need," Vice Admiral Rinaldo Veri, head of Operation Unified Protector, told a news conference at NATO's Southern Europe headquarters in Naples.

Veri said his force had begun operations on Wednesday evening with ships already in the area, but had not detected any attempt to breach the embargo so far.

He said his force was still "in a build-up phase" and would have enough assets in a few days to fully sustain the embargo.   Continued...

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