U.S. to scale down its role in Libya operation: Gates

08:45, March 22, 2011      

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The United States will soon scale down its participation in the military actions against Libya, visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Monday.

In an interview with Russia's Interfax news agency, Gates said that the Americans would play an important role in the first two or three days of the operation but "pretty soon" their role would be auxiliary.

"While we had a major role in the first two or three days, I expect us very soon to recede back into a supporting role, with other nations carrying a significant proportion of the burden of enforcing the no-fly zone," Gates said.

"And the president (Barak Obama) has made very clear that the United States will not have any force in Libya, on the Libyan soil, " he added.

Speaking in Russian city of St. Petersburg, Gates also said it would be a mistake for the coalition to set for itself a goal of eliminating Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

"It is clear to everybody that Libya will be better-off without Gaddafi. But that is a matter for the Libyans themselves to solve. And I think given the opportunity and the absence of repressions they themselves can do that and I think it would be a mistake of us to set that as a goal," he said.

"I believe that for the next couple of days after the resolution came into force, some progress will be achieved to reach these objectives," he said.

The UN Security Council Resolution 1973 authorizes the use of force and the creation of a no-fly zone and calls for protecting the people in Libya, where protesters and the government forces have been clashing for several weeks.

Source: Xinhua

 
 
     
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
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