Six Dutch warplanes arrive in Sardinia

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Six Dutch F-16 warplanes landed Thursday at the Decimomannu base in Sardinia to take part in the mission to enforce the arms embargo imposed on Libya, the defence ministry in The Hague said.

"The F-16s arrived at the Decimomannu base around 6:00 pm (1700 GMT)," a ministry spokesman told AFP.

They had left the military base at Eindhoven, in the southern Netherlands, at 4:00 pm (1500 GMT).

The air force detachment is made up of around 160 military personnel, technicians, canteen and maintenance staff and 10 pilots, the ministry said.

Their mission will be to carry out surveillance flights and collect information about air traffic to Libya.

The Dutch fighters will be charged with intercepting suspect aircraft. NATO will decide what should happen to them, a defence ministry statement said.

The air force is also providing a KDC-10 tanker to refuel the warplanes during their mission.

"We have decided to make our contribution to the application of (United Nations Security Council) resolution 1973", Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters after a special cabinet meeting to discuss the arms embargo decided on by the UN.

The F-16s will be stationed close to the F-18s of the Spanish air force which arrived in Sardinia Saturday, Italy's ANSA news agency said.

© 2011 AFP

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