- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 22, 2011

PARIS (AP) — France proposed on Tuesday a new political steering committee outside NATO to be responsible for overseeing military operations over Libya.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the new body will bring together foreign ministers of participating states — such as Britain, France and the United States — as well as the Arab League. It is expected to meet in the coming days, either in Brussels, London or Paris, Mr. Juppe said.

Mr. Juppe said not all members of the military coalition are members of NATO but the coalition would use the military alliance’s planning and intervention capabilities.

“For us, the intervention is firstly an operation wanted by the United Nations. It is run by a coalition of member-states, all of whom are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,” Mr. Juppe said. “This is, therefore, not a NATO operation, even if it must be able to rely on military planning and intervention capacities of the Alliance.”

Not all NATO members are in favor of the no-fly zone and airstrikes against Libya.

President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed the new body and Britain agreed to it, Mr. Juppe said.

Paris and London pressed early on for a no-fly zone to protect Libyan civilians from attacks by the forces of the Libyan leader, Col. Moammar Gadhafi. France also hosted a summit Saturday of nations participating in the coalition — just ahead of the first bombing runs in the North African country by French fighter jets.

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