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Libya moves to civil engagement as military operations ease

(Xinhua)

14:27, October 28, 2011

BEIJING, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Libya is moving toward civil engagement as the United Nations has decided to lift the no-fly zone over Libya next Monday and NATO said it would end its military operations in the North African country.

The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday to pass a resolution that will terminate on Oct. 31 the no-fly zone and civilian protection mandates adopted earlier this year for Libya.

Resolution 2016, submitted by Russia and Britain and approved by all 15 council members, will revoke at the end of October the provisions prescribed by Resolution 1973, which was adopted by the council on March 17 and led to a no-fly zone enforcement by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The resolution passed on Thursday welcomed "the positive developments in Libya which will improve the prospects for a democratic, peaceful and prosperous future there."

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Berlin on Thursday that NATO will wrap up its operations in Libya on Oct. 31, but he expected the alliance to play a role in the country in the post-conflict period.

Addressing a press conference after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Rasmussen said NATO would make a formal decision on ending the Libya mission when its decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council, meets Friday in Brussels.

"If requested we can assist the new Libyan government in the transformation to democracy, for instance with defense and security sector reform, but I wouldn't expect new tasks beyond that," he said.

Libya's ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) declared the liberation of the entire libya on Oct. 23 after former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed at his hometown Sirte, ending the fighting between the Gaddafi regime and NATO-backed NTC forces since February.

The NTC also said that Libya has stepped into a new stage with a new interim government.

Libya's new ruling authorities said on Thursday that whoever killed Gaddafi will be put on trial.

The Libyan authorities have already started investigations on the death of Gaddafi, Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, vice chairman of the NTC, said at a press conference held in Libya's second largest city Benghazi, adding that they have "the code of ethics" concerning how to deal with war criminals.

Whoever killed Gaddafi "will be brought to justice," said Ghoga.

Gaddafi died shortly after he was captured alive a week ago in his hometown of Sirte in northern Libya, before his corpse was transferred to Misrata, some 200 km east of the capital of Tripoli, where it was put on public display for almost five days.

NTC leaders have said that Gaddafi was killed in the crossfire between his loyalists and the NTC fighters after his capture. But speculations have been circulating that he was intentionally shot dead by NTC fighters.

Ghoga has said that it must be "an individual act" if Gaddafi is proved to have been killed by NTC fighters.

The whereabouts of Gaddafi's sons, who might have been the inheritors of the country's conflict, have drawn concerns after Gaddafi's death. Most of Gaddadi's sons were reportedly killed during the conflict in the country. However, his second son Saif al-Islam was spotted in the Nigerien territory on Wednesday.

Saif was allegedly being escorted by pro-Gaddafi fighters and had already established contact with the Nigerien Armed Forces (FAN) in the Agadez region.

Saif and his brother-in-law Abdallah al-Senoussi, Gaddafi's intelligence chief, are being sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for committing crimes against humanity.

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