(Adds comment from Jalil in second paragraph.)
Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- The head of Libya’s ruling council Mustafa Abdel Jalil said he wants the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to continue its operations in the Arab country for at least two more months after the overthrow and death of former Leader Muammar Qaddafi.
“We, the Libyan people, wish that the alliance will continue its operations to at least the end of the year,” he said at a meeting of NATO and Arab defense chiefs in Doha, Qatar, today. The alliance brought “dignity” to Libya’s “revolutionaries,” he said.
NATO made a preliminary decision last week to begin winding down its enforcement of the no-fly zone and other military operations. The alliance delayed a decision to end the Libyan operation because some alliance members are concerned violence may flare up again, the Associated Press reported today. NATO’s governing body, the North Atlantic Council, will meet its partners in two days time, the news service said.
Libya would like NATO to continue protecting civilians from elements of the former Qaddafi regime who may continue to cause violence, Libya’s acting Interior Minister Ahmed Darrat said today.
NATO began bombing operations in Libya to protect civilians after a revolt against Qaddafi’s government broke out in the North African country in February. Qaddafi died Oct. 20 while trying to escape from his besieged hometown of Sirte. Libya was the third country this year where uprisings have led to a change of leadership.
“The rational for NATOs collective involvement is now difficult to see beyond the current U.N. mandate,” General Sir David Richards, the U.K.’s chief of defense staff, told reporters on the sideline of the meeting today.
--Editors: Tim Farrand, Lukanyo Mnyanda
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