NATO Agrees To Take Command Of Military Efforts In Libya
International military action against Libya continued for a seventh straight day on Friday, one day after NATO agreed to take over enforcement the no-fly zone and other military efforts there.
The Huffington Post reported: "The overnight French and British strikes on an artillery battery and armored vehicles were intended to give a measure of relief to Ajdabiya, where residents have fled or cowered under more than a week of shelling and fighting between rebels and government troops. Explosions also could be heard in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, before daybreak Friday, apparently from airstrikes."
The strikes came after NATO reached an agreement late Thursday to to also take over the military efforts there. The alliance previously said NATO would take command over the no-fly zone, but had not decided whether it should also take over the entire campaign.
The New York Times reported: "Details of the second part of the operation will be worked out in a formal military planning document over the next couple of days, the officials said, but all NATO countries took the political decision that the alliance would command and coordinate the entire military campaign.
French officials on Friday also declared the Libyan airspace "under control."
Adm. Edouard Guillaud said on France-Info radio: ""Libyan airspace is under control, and we proved it yesterday, because a Libyan plane in the hands of pro-Gadhafi forces, which had just taken off from Misrata in order to bomb Misrata, was destroyed by a French Rafale."
Officials also said there would also be a meeting Tuesday of coalition foreign ministers to discuss sanctions and other possible measure in an effort to get Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi to step down.
Efforts to get the regime and rebel forces to meet proved unsuccessful on Friday. According to reports, representatives for the Libyan regime and opposition forces were expected to meet formally in Ethiopia with other international representatives in an effort to come to some sort of solution on a cease-fire agreement. However, Libyan rebel representatives did not show up.
Voice of America reported: "United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was represented, as were as all permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, Libya’s North African neighbors, along with partners in the coalition imposing the no-fly zone. Moammar Gadhafi sent a five-member delegation led by the speaker of the People’s Congress.
"The main disappointment was the absence of the anti-Gadhafi rebels. A senior African diplomat who could not be identified under briefing rules said a rebel representative had refused to take part in talks unless Gadhafi’s ouster was a pre-condition."