Panetta Begins Next-step Discussions with NATO Partners

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2011 — As Oper­a­tion Uni­fied Pro­tec­tor winds down in Libya, the Defense Depart­ment and its NATO part­ners have had ear­ly dis­cus­sions about future roles in that embat­tled nation, Defense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panet­ta said today.

Panet­ta briefed reporters here along with Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

“Our view is that this mis­sion went well [and] that the role that NATO per­formed there was the right one,” Panet­ta said. 

Rebel forces that rose up against the regime of Moam­mar Gad­hafi “have made sig­nif­i­cant progress,” the sec­re­tary added, although some ele­ments of the regime con­tin­ue to fight. 

In the mean­time, Panet­ta said, four mil­i­tary per­son­nel arrived in Libya last week to help the State Depart­ment assess dam­age to the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli. 

“With­in the last few days, we’ve deployed anoth­er 12,” the sec­re­tary said, to try to reopen the embassy “with­in the next few weeks. But that’s it. We have not and do not intend to put any com­bat forces on the ground.” 

As to NATO’s future role there, “that’s some­thing we’re going to be dis­cussing with NATO as we see events unfold in Libya,” Panet­ta said, adding that he’s begun dis­cus­sions with his NATO part­ners, “try­ing to decide … what should be the next steps.” 

Mullen met with the NATO chiefs of defense over the week­end. “A num­ber of them went out of their way to thank the Unit­ed States for the sup­port to enable them to be able to suc­ceed to this point,” he said. 

“The deci­sion was made, obvi­ous­ly, to put us in a sup­port role,” Mullen said. “That was, clear­ly, critical.” 

NATO, he added, is “a crit­i­cal alliance, has been, is and will be for the future.” 

In New York today, at the first meet­ing of the “Friends of Libya,” NATO Sec­re­tary-Gen­er­al Anders Fogh Ras­mussen said NATO is com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing its mis­sion in Libya for as long as threats against civil­ians endure. 

The meet­ing coin­cid­ed with that of the U.N. Gen­er­al Assem­bly. It brought togeth­er inter­na­tion­al heads of state and gov­ern­ment and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of key inter­na­tion­al and region­al orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing from the African Union, Euro­pean Union and Unit­ed Nations to dis­cuss ways to aid Libya’s tran­si­tion to a func­tion­ing democracy. 

“The days of the for­mer regime are clear­ly num­bered,” Ras­mussen said. “The recent pos­i­tive devel­op­ments in Libya are irreversible.” 

He also wel­comed the adop­tion of U.N. Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion 2009, which estab­lish­es a U.N. mis­sion in Libya, accord­ing to NATO. Res­o­lu­tions 1970 and 1973, which man­dat­ed inter­na­tion­al action to pro­tect civil­ians in Libya, remain in place as threats against the civil­ian pop­u­la­tion persist. 

“Our oper­a­tion has been a suc­cess,” Ras­mussen said. 

“Allies and part­ners alike have made a dif­fer­ence by mount­ing a com­plex oper­a­tion in very lit­tle time, car­ry­ing out our man­date to the let­ter and with the high­est degree of mil­i­tary pro­fes­sion­al­ism to avoid harm to the Libyan peo­ple and their infra­struc­ture,” he said. 

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →