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NATO to end Libya operations on Oct. 31: Rasmussen

(Xinhua)

14:52, October 28, 2011

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during a press conference after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Germany, on Oct. 27, 2011. NATO will wrap up its operations in Libya on Oct. 31, Rasmussen said here on Thursday. (Xinhua/Ma Ning)

BERLIN, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- NATO will wrap up its operations in Libya on October 31, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said here on Thursday, noting that he does not expect the alliance to play "a major role" in the country in the post-conflict period.

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

In reaction to reports that Libya's ruling National Transitional Council has urged NATO to extend its mission in Libya till the end of 2011, Rasmussen said that he does not foresee a major role for NATO in Libya's post-conflict period.

"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.

Rasmussen also said that NATO will continue to help Afghanistan after the planned troop withdrawal in 2014.

After the withdrawal of combat troops, the focus will be to support the training of Afghan security forces, he said.

Rasmussen expressed confidence that the schedule to complete the transfer of the security responsibility to Afghan authorities by the end of 2014 would be met, noting that already a quarter of the Afghan population is now protected by its own security forces.

Merkel promised on Thursday that Germany would continue to fund training of Afghan security forces beyond 2014.

Germany is due to host an international conference on Afghan future in Bonn on December 5. Merkel said that the conference would be an opportunity to discuss "jobs that still have to be done" in Afghanistan.

Rasmussen stressed that the Bonn conference must and will send a "very strong signal" that the international community will stand by Afghanistan.


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