Dutch contribute F-16s to NATO Libyan campaign

22nd March 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Netherlands will contribute six F-16 fighter jets, about 200 soldiers, a mine hunter ship and a tanker plane to NATO efforts to enforce a Libyan arms embargo, the government said on Tuesday.

"We have decided to make a contribution to the execution of Resolution 1973 of the United Nations," Prime Minister Mark Rutte told journalists in The Hague after a special cabinet meeting called to discuss NATO's decision to enforce a UN-mandated arms embargo on Libya.

"Our contribution will consist of six F-16s, one DC-10 tanker plane and a mine hunter," he said.

"Our contribution is meant to enforce the arms embargo against Libya."

Defence Minister Hans Hillen told the press conference that about 200 Dutch soldiers would take part in the mission.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen earlier said the 28-nation defence organisation had agreed that its forces would monitor, report and if needed "interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries".

The bloc also agreed to endorse operational plans to help enforce the no-fly zone over Libya, after Turkey dropped objections, but it must still decide whether to activate it.

"If so decided by NATO, we can also provide support in enforcing the no-fly zone," said Rutte.

Hillen said the Dutch contribution to the mission would last three months, but could be extended by NATO agreement.

The Dutch military has a total 87 F-16 fighter jets.

© 2011 AFP

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