Britain's Fox says NATO to keep up Libya mission
The NATO alliance will keep up its military operations over Libya for as long as remnants of Moamer Kadhafi's regime present a risk to the people, British defence minister Liam Fox said on Saturday.
"Even now if they could rely on their own, as long as the remnants of the regime cause a risk to the people of Libya NATO will continue its mission" aimed at protecting civilians from Kadhafi loyalists, Fox said.
He was speaking at a news conference with his Italian counterpart, Ignazio La Russa, and National Transitional Council (NTC) chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil.
The two European defence ministers are on a two-day visit to Libya.
"The message for those who are still fighting for Kadhafi is 'the game is over,' that they are rejected by the Libyan people," Fox added.
Abdel Jalil underlined the fact that there was still fierce opposition from Kadhafi loyalists in Sirte and Bani Walid.
"The battle for Sirte and Bani Walid will be very vicious. Our fighters today still have to deal with snipers in high positions. Yesterday we had about 180 wounded in one day and we had 15 dead," he said.
Sirte, Kadhafi's hometown on the Mediterranean coast east of Tripoli, is being attacked by massed NTC forces facing fierce resistance from entrenched loyalists.
Abdel Jalil also asked for help in caring for the wounded.
"We call on the international community to help us on that issue. They need to be treated medically and they could deduct that from the frozen (Libyan) assets."
© 2011 AFP