NATO Defense Chiefs to Discuss Libya Campaign

June 8, 2011

VOA News

NATO defense ministers are set to meet Wednesday in Brussels to assess the campaign in Libya, a day after NATO warplanes pounded Tripoli with some of the most intense airstrikes since the coalition operation began in March.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says he expects to discuss preparations for the future of Libya without leader Moammar Gadhafi, who he says is part of the country’s past.

Gadhafi has vowed to continue fighting.  He said in an audio speech broadcast Tuesday on state television that the Libyan people will not surrender and will stay in their country until the end.

State television later broadcast images of what it said was a meeting between Gadhafi and tribal elders.  The Libyan leader was previously seen on state television late last month.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is traveling to the United Arab Emirates, where the 22-nation Libyan Contact Group holds talks on Thursday, including on how to assist the Libyan rebels opposing Gadhafi.  The group agreed last month to set up a fund to provide the rebels with food, medicine and military supplies.

NATO airstrikes Tuesday caused repeated blasts that rocked Tripoli.  Witnesses say some of the attacks targeted Mr. Gadhafi’s sprawling compound, which was heavily damaged.  Plumes of smoke billowed above the facility.

A Libyan government spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, says 31 people were killed in 60 airstrikes on the Libyan capital.  His account could not be independently confirmed.

In Brussels, where NATO is based, lawyers for Gadhafi’s daughter filed a war crimes complaint against the alliance.  In the complaint, Aisha al-Gadhafi accuses NATO of bombing a civilian target in late April in Tripoli.

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