Nations ready to take action in Libya

19th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

A coalition of nations including Britain, France and the United States are ready to join military action against Libya. Here are details of what they may contribute:


Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday that Britain was moving Tornado and Typhoon fighter jets "in the coming hours" to bases near Libya and would also be offering air-to-air refuelling and surveillance aircraft.

The country has an airbase in Cyprus, where three of its airborne warning and control system (AWACS) planes were recently stationed.

It also has bases in Malta, although the island nation said it would not be used as a military base for attacks on Libya.

Two British frigates, HMS Cumberland and HMS Westminster, are already in the Mediterranean.


Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said France was ready for action, and officials said air bases at Solenzara in Corsica and in N'Djamena in Chad are on alert.

France has about 100 warplanes, mainly Rafale and Mirage 2000 jets. The aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, currently in Toulon, could also be deployed closer to the Libyan coast.


President Barack Obama has left unclear the exact role it would play.

Washington has F-15 and F-16 fighter jets in Sicily, while the USS Barry and the USS Stout, both destroyers equipped with sea-to-ground Tomahawk missiles, are in the Mediterranean.

The USS Bataan, a helicopter-carrying amphibious assault ship, and two other vessels have also been deployed to relieve the USS Kearsarge and the transport docking ship USS Ponce in the Mediterranean. The Bataan was due to leave the state of Virginia on Wednesday.


Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada would deploy six CF-18 fighter jets to join the warship HMCS Charlottetown in the region.


Rome has offered the use of seven air bases and held out the possibility of using its own air force and navy. One of these bases is Sigonella in Sicily, which hosts US and British jets.


Ambassadors from the 28-nation alliance agreed to speed up military planning but have yet to decide whether to participate. France has indicated that it would prefer NATO to stay out of Libya.

AWACS planes have been flying 24 hours a day in the region for the past week as part of a NATO anti-terror mission. The alliance also decided last week to deploy three ships to the area.


The defence ministry said up to six F-16 warplanes and a transport plane would be sent to Sicily Saturday.


Ministers said the country would contribute but gave no details, adding that any participation would likely take place within NATO. Norway has Hercules transport planes and F-16 jets.


Defence Minister Pieter De Crem said Belgium could deploy four of the six F-16 fighter jets it has committed to NATO, plus an anti-mine ship.

Belgium would prefer a mission within NATO but has not ruled out participation in a coalition of the willing.


QATAR said it will contribute to the no-fly zone but has not given details, while a UN diplomat said the UNITED ARAB EMIRATES will participate.


Madrid has said it would allow NATO to use two military bases and would provide air and naval forces.

© 2011 AFP

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