NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels to discuss the progress of the ongoing military campaign in Libya, as NATO missiles continue to mercilessly bomb the compound of Moammar Gaddafi in Tripoli.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Secretary-General of NATO, said prior to the meeting that officials will discuss the future of Libya, post-Gaddafi. He also said he will encourage broader participation among alliance members in Libya. He also wants alliance members to share the costs and risks associated with the Libyan operations.
Obviously some of those allies and partners carrying the heavy burden start to ask whether it would be possible to broaden the participation a bit, he said earlier in the week.
That is also the essence of our alliance: that allies that actually have the necessary assets at their disposal, also contribute those assets, based on the principle of solidarity.
Britain’s voice in NATO, Liam Fox, the UK defense secretary, wants to see increased urgency in some quarters for the Libya campaign.
The United Kingdom has been very forward-leading, very clear that we want to see the Libyan people safe from the excesses of the Gaddafi regime, he said. We will want to push that point today.
NATO members Sweden said its ruling government reached an agreement with opposition parties to extend the participation of Swedish jets in Libya reconnaissance missions by three months through September.
However, one of NATO’s most powerful and prominent members, Germany, has refused to participate in the Libya mission.
We will not change our position concerning the military action. We will not participate,'' Christian Schmidt, Germany's secretary of state, said.
Meanwhile, Gaddafi has remained defiant, declaring on state TV that he refuses to step down from power, vowing to stay in Libya.
We will not surrender: we only have one choice - to the end! Death, victory, it does not matter, we are not surrendering!'' Gaddafi said.
Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State, will go to the United Arab Emirates to hold talks with the 22-nation Libyan Contact Group to discuss how to help the Benghazi-based rebels fighting to topple Gaddafi. Last month, the Contact Group agreed to provide the rebels with food, medicine and other supplies.
The Libyan government has complained that NATO air strikes have killed many civilians – in direct violation of the alliance’s stated purpose of only targeting military sites.
Gaddafi’s daughter has filed a war crimes charge against NATO in Brussels, citing that civilians have been killed in Tripoli.