- Friend: Pistorius shot gun out car without warning
- States wrestle with developing, restricting drones
- Japan marks 3rd anniversary of tsunami disasters
- Ukraine’s Crimea seeks to become independent state
- Ex-Gov. Christie aides to judge: Quash subpoenas
- Rich Peverley collapses on Dallas Stars bench; game postponed
- Al Sharpton, Trayvon Martin’s parents rally against Fla. ‘stand your ground’ law
- Hillary Clinton campaign got illicit funds from D.C. scandal figure
- Obama administration backs off plan to cut prescription-drug program
- Tickets linked to stolen passports purchased by Iranian middleman
NATO delays formal decision on ending Libya mission
BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO unexpectedly postponed a definite decision to end its bombing campaign in Libya as consultations continued Wednesday with the United Nations and the country’s interim government over how and when to wind down the operation.
Last week, the alliance announced preliminary plans to phase out its mission on Oct. 31. NATO’s governing body — the North Atlantic Council, or NAC — was expected to formalize that decision Wednesday.
Air patrols have continued in the meantime because some alliance members were concerned that a quick end to NATO’s seven-month operation could lead to a resurgence in violence.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Tuesday during a visit to Japan that some of Libya’s leaders had called for NATO to continue its mission “during this interim as they try to establish some new governance.”
But a NATO official who could not be identified under standing rules said the alliance had not received any formal request from the Libyan transitional government to prolong its air and naval patrols past the end of the month.
NATO’s 26,000 sorties, including 9,600 strike missions, destroyed about 5,900 military targets since they started on March 31. These included Libya’s air defenses and more than 1,000 tanks, vehicles and guns, as well as Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s command and control networks.
The daily airstrikes enabled the rebels’ ragtag forces to advance and take Tripoli two months ago. On Sunday, Libya’s interim rulers declared the country liberated, launching the oil-rich nation on what is meant to be a two-year transition to democracy.
In Qatar, Libyan interim leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil attended an international planning conference Wednesday with representatives of Gulf states and Western powers that participated in the Libyan operation.
The meeting is expected to focus on how the allies could help the new authorities bring stability to the nation.
Qatar, a leading Arab backer of the uprising to topple the Gadhafi regime, contributed warplanes to the NATO-led air campaign and helped arrange a critical oil sale to fund the former rebels.
The United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Sweden also joined in the NATO war effort.
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Conference showed that the values Reagan cherished still endure
- FCC targets black conservative in TV station fight
- Hillary Clinton campaign received funds from Jeffrey Thompson
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- EDITORIAL: Senate Democrats pointless all-night global warming talkathon
- CARNES: Kissinger's flawed and offensive analysis of Ukraine
- Atheists sue to remove 'Ground Zero Cross' from 9/11 museum
- Man with stolen passport on missing jet is asylum seeker
- Al Qaeda to launch English-language Web magazine 'Resurgence'
- Mitch McConnell on beating tea party: 'We are going to crush them'
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again