NATO to End Libya Mission

Posted October 28th, 2011 at 2:45 am (UTC-5)
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NATO ministers are meeting in Brussels, on Friday, where they are expected to announce plans to end the seven-month-old operation in Libya.

The meeting comes a day after the U.N. Security Council voted to cancel its mandate that established the mission.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the alliance will formalize a preliminary decision, reached a week ago, to wind down the Libya mission on October 31.

He also said, Thursday, that he did not foresee a major NATO role in the post-conflict Libya. However, he added the alliance could possibly assist the new government in areas such as security and defense, if requested.

Earlier this week, Libya's National Transitional Council leaders asked NATO to extend its mission until the end of the year because of security concerns.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials have announced plans to transport 30 seriously wounded Libyan fighters to medical facilities in the U.S. and Germany. Officials say the transfer will take place on Saturday.

Libya's Moammar Gadhafi was fatally wounded last week as revolutionary fighters stormed his hometown of Sirte. A search is underway for some of his relatives and top officials who served in his administration.

On Thursday, officials in Niger said Gadhafi's intelligence chief was in the west African nation of Mali. The officials, who did not want to be identified, said Abdullah al-Senussi passed through Niger and into the Malian desert with the help of ethnic Tuaregs, who supported Gadhafi during his time in power.

The ex-spy chief and Gadhafi's son, Seif al-Islam, both fled Libya recently as anti-Gadhafi forces seized the late ruler's last strongholds. Officials say the location of Seif al-Islam Gadhafi is unknown, though he is also believed to be travelling through the Sahara.

In June, the International Criminal Court issued warrants for the arrests of both men on charges of crimes against humanity.