UN votes to end NATO mission in Libya
A unanimously approved UN resolution ends authorization for NATO operations in Libya, rejecting Libya's insistence that NATO's continued presence would be beneficial.
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The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to conclude NATO's Libya operation at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 31, despite a request from Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) that it stand through the end of 2011.
UNSC Resolution 2016 will put the NTC fully at the helm of the country and free the NTC of military and financial restrictions so that it can begin rebuilding the country's military and economy. NATO is expected to formally announce an end to its Libya mission at a meeting on Friday.
Officially, the resolution ends UN authorization for a no-fly zone and air attacks deemed key to protecting civilians and loosens an arms embargo on the country so that the NTC can begin acquiring weapons, Agence France-Presse reports. It also eases up financial restrictions, such as a freeze on assets of the Libyan National Oil Corporation and restrictions on the central bank and other economic institutions.
Without the UN authorization, NATO will be hard-pressed to justify a continuation of its military operation – and has not indicated an interest in doing so.
However, it may still have a role assisting the NTC as it consolidates power. The NTC "may foresee a future role for NATO," said US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, according to AFP. For now, it is still conducting air patrols.
On Wednesday, Libyan Deputy UN Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi asked the Security Council to postpone terminating its authorization until after the NTC had time to assess Libya's security situation and the "ability to monitor its borders," Reuters reports.
Western diplomats said that the things that NATO could potentially help with now that the war is over are beyond the parameters of the UN mandate for NATO. A NATO official said alliance members are permitted to give security assistance to Libya on an individual country basis, according to Reuters.