May 24, 2013
NATO calls for greater support in Libya as bombings intensify
NATO, its air power stretched by the heaviest strikes to date on Tripoli, sought broader support for its bombing campaign in Libya today but won no immediate new public commitments from allies.
Of the 28 NATO allies only eight, led by Britain and France, have been conducting air strikes against Gaddafi's forces, and a senior US official warned this week that fatigue was beginning to set in among the aircrews already committed.
A statement from the NATO allies said they were "committed to providing all the necessary means and maximum operational flexibility" to sustain the mission and "welcome additional contributions to our common efforts".
A NATO spokeswoman said a number of allies had said they would consider doing more and some had said they would do more, but she declined to give details and there were no immediate announcements by nations.
A NATO diplomat said no new commitments were made. "... nobody responded to the demands to do more," he said.
Some allies that have refused to take part in the bombing said they would not alter their stance and Sweden, a non-NATO participant, said it would scale down its role."Germany sticks to its position, no military engagement," German Deputy Defence Minister Christian Schmidt told reporters.
Spanish Defense Minister Carme Chacon said Spain would keep up its role of helping to enforce a Libya no-fly zone and arms embargo, but would not undertake strike missions. "It will be the same contribution, the same format," she said.
Norway said last month it would scale down its air strike role after its three-month commitment ends on June 24.Sweden said today it would prolong its participation in the alliance against Gaddafi, but would cut the number of fighter jets deployed to five from eight and switch their role from patrolling the no-fly zone to reconnaissance sorties.
While all NATO allies agree that Gaddafi, who is battling an almost four-month-old rebellion, must go, not all view military intervention as the best way to achieve this.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he had asked ministers to share the burden and British Defence Minister Liam Fox called for a greater effort. "We want to see increased urgency in some quarters in terms of Libya," Fox told reporters.