June 1 - NATO is extending its Libya mission for 90 days, after Muammar Gaddafi made it clear he will not step down. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
NATO is extending its Libya mission for 90 days, after Muammar Gaddafi made it clear he would not step down, dashing hopes of a negotiated end to the uprising against his rule. The 28-member alliance originally took over a campaign of air strikes, the enforcement of a no-fly zone and an arms embargo on Libya in late March for 90 days. NATO Secretary-General Anders Rasmussen SOUNDBITE: NATO Secretary-General Anders Rasmussen, saying (English): "NATO and partners have just decided to extend our mission for Libya for another 90 days. This decision sends a clear message to the Gaddafi regime. We are determined to continue our operation to protect the people of Libya. We will sustain our efforts to fulfill the United Nations mandate. We will keep up the pressure to see it through." On Tuesday, South African President Jacob Zuma said Gaddafi had stated emphatically he would not leave Libya -- making a negotiated end to the conflict impossible given rebel demands for his departure. SOUNDBITE: NATO Secretary-General Anders Rasmussen, saying (English): "Our decision also sends a clear message to the people of Libya. NATO, our partners, the whole international community stands united, we stand with you. We stand united to make sure you can shape your own future, and that day is getting closer." Now in its fourth month, the Libyan conflict is deadlocked, with rebels unable to break out of their strongholds and advance towards Tripoli, where Gaddafi appears to be firmly entrenched. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters