NATO says that with the Gaddafi regime ousted, it is close to success in Libya. Nevertheless, the alliance promised to remain in the region in order to secure its UN mandate.
During a briefing in Naples on Tuesday, NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu told the media:”The NATO mission is important, it’s effective and it’s still necessary in order to protect civilians. As long as threats remain, there’s still a job to be done and we will get that job done.”
NATO is far from done with the operation in Libya despite the fall of Gaddafi’s regime, said operation spokesman Col. Roland Lavoie. The alliance plans to continue supporting rebel forces as long as civilians in the country are under threat.
Lavoie said that rebels and Gaddafi loyalists are negotiating the fate of Sirte, a heavily-militarized city some 250 miles east of Tripoli and the home-town of the ousted Libyan leader. However, so far Sirte shows no signs of surrendering.
Negotiations with forces in Sirte are expected to end Saturday after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, when the rebels would “act decisively and militarily,” according to the head of the National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil.
Lavoie believes it is possible for Sirte to undergo a peaceful transition from control by Gaddafi loyalists to opposition forces.
“We are aware that the anti-Gaddafi forces are trying to seek a resolution, if possible without violence, to this conflict,” he said.
Meanwhile in Tripoli rebel leaders are trying to set up a new government amid widespread shortages of water and fuel.
“Gaddafi forces have been pushed out of the greater Tripoli area. Despite the presence of remnants of the regime, the Tripoli region is essentially freed with the retreat of pro-Gaddafi forces,” said Col. Roland Lavoie.
The fugitive Colonel, who is nowhere to be found, remains the main target for opposition forces. The rebels are concerned that if not killed or captured, Gaddafi will stoke more violence.