Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spain readies to pull troops from Libya

MADRID - Spanish Defence Minister Carme Chacon on Tuesday said Spain would pull its troops from Libya as soon as NATO formally announces the end of its operations there.
"As soon as NATO formally confirms the end of this operation, Spanish assets will be immediately pulled back to Spanish territory," she said at a news conference.
"This means that all the troops that we have today in Libyan territory will be in Spain before October 31," she added.
On Oct. 12 Chacon said Madrid was withdrawing its four F-18 fighter jets assigned to the NATO air campaign in Libya due to positive developments in the north African country.
The minister noted that Spain still had two refueling aircraft in Libya and would continue to help enforce the UN-mandated arms embargo on the country with a frigate and a maritime patrol aircraft.
NATO ambassadors are scheduled to meet Wednesday to make a formal decision on a preliminary agreement to terminate the seven-month-old mission on Oct. 31.
But Libya's new regime has asked the alliance to maintain air operations a month longer than planned.
The alliance decided to wind down the mission after determining that civilians were essentially free from the threat of attacks from fighters loyal to Moammar Gadhafi, who was killed last week by troops loyal to the new regime.

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