UPDATE 5-NATO to run Libya no-fly zone but not all action

Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:44pm GMT
 

* U.S. plans to step back from operation in days

* Turkey says compromise reached on NATO role

* Negotiations continue on command arrangements (Adds Clinton quotes, UAE contribution)

By David Brunnstrom and Paul Taylor

BRUSSELS, March 24 (Reuters) - NATO countries agreed on Thursday to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya to protect civilians against Muammar Gaddafi's forces, but fell short of taking full command of all military operations in the North African state.

Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters after four days of grueling negotiations that the U.S.-led military alliance's mandate did not extend beyond enforcing an arms embargo and the no-fly zone, although NATO could also act in self-defense.

Turkey's foreign minister said earlier that NATO would take over command of all coalition military operations in Libya from the United States.

Asked whether NATO would be able to strike at ground forces or take action against Gaddafi, Rasmussen said, "At this moment, there will still be a coalition operation and a NATO operation."

He added that talks were continuing on giving NATO a broader role, "but that decision has not been made yet." In the meantime, there would be close coordination to avoid conflicts.   Continued...

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