Libyan Officials Urge NATO to Continue Mission in Libya

Posted October 26th, 2011 at 12:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Libya's interim leader has urged NATO to continue its mission in the country until at least the end of the year.

National Transitional Council head Mustafa Abdel Jalil said Wednesday the move would help prevent Moammar Gadhafi's loyalists from regrouping and posing a security threat.

In New York, a top Libyan diplomat asked the U.N. Security Council to delay adoption of a resolution ending the NATO-enforced No Fly Zone over Libya.

Libya's Deputy Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi said the security situation in Libya may not be stable enough to end the No Fly Zone right away. He said there are questions about Libya's ability to monitor its borders.

Dabbashi also briefed the Security Council about Gadhafi's death last week, saying initial reports show no transitional fighters shot at him after he was arrested. The envoy said Gadhafi was bleeding from his abdomen and head when he was arrested, and that he died after arriving at a hospital in Misrata.

Video has raised the possibility the ousted leader was shot and killed as provisional government forces stormed his hometown of Sirte. The National Transitional Council has been under intense international pressure to investigate the circumstances of his death.

Gadhafi was buried Tuesday in a undisclosed desert location.

NATO ambassadors gathered in Brussels Wednesday to consider ending the alliance's seven-month-old air campaign over Libya. They decided to postpone a formal decision until Friday to allow time for more consultations with Libya's interim leaders.

Last week, NATO announced a preliminary decision to end the mission on October 31.

Jalil made his remarks in Qatar, at the first international planning conference for Libya since Gadhafi's death.

Qatar was a leading Arab backer of the uprising against Gadhafi. It contributed warplanes to the NATO-led air campaign and helped arrange an oil sale to fund the provincial government.