France says no Arab objection to NATO command in Libya

30th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Wednesday he had seen no objection from Arab countries attending the conference on Libya in London to the transfer of military operations there to NATO.

"I had the opportunity to meet with several Arab delegations yesterday, the Jordanians, the Emiratis, the Qataris, and I saw no objection to this transfer," Juppe told journalists following Tuesday's talks.

Several Arab countries have appeared to distance themselves from the meeting, which was aimed at plotting a course for Libya's political transition.

Arab League chief Amr Mussa declined his invitation, which an Egyptian diplomat put down to concerns over NATO's assumption of responsibility for military operations in Libya.

It was initial support from the Arab League that helped convinced Western powers of the need to adopt UN resolution 1973, authorising the use of "all necessary" powers to protect civilian populations.

Qatari jets have already joined the coalition flights over Libya, while jets from the UAE have arrived in Italy, ahead of flying its own missions.

Speaking alongside Moroccan counterpart Taieb Fassi Fihri, Juppe stressed the importance of "creating a political governance for the operation in Libya," with the setting up after the London meeting of a contact group.

Juppe had said early this month that NATO's intervention in Libya could be extremely counter-productive" vis-a-vis Arab public opinion.

Morocco's Fihri said: "We note the decision taken concerning the command coordination which is henceforth done by NATO."

He said that Morocco would provide "a humanitarian contribution with the necessary logistical support" in Libya.

© 2011 AFP

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