State Department says discussions on ending NATO's role in Libya continue
Libya wants to see the NATO no-fly zone end by October 31, envoy Ibrahim Dabbashi says
But Qatar may lead a new alliance supporting Libya
Gadhafi was not killed by the militia men who captured him last Thursday, Dabbashi says
Apparently contradictory views emerged Wednesday about when Libya’s fledgling government should begin operating without training wheels.
A Libyan ambassador told the United Nations Security Council Wednesday that his country would like the NATO no-fly zone to be terminated by the end of this month, but he added that Libya’s security concerns would need to be evaluated before a final decision could be made.
Libyan Deputy Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi told the 15-member council the Libyan people are “looking forward to terminating the no-fly zone over Libya.”
“In accordance with the initial assessments, the date of October 31 is the logical date to terminate this mandate,” he continued, but said further evaluation of the security situation and Libya’s ability to monitor its borders was needed.
Dabbashi said Libya was also keen to terminate the NATO mandate authorized by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 to protect Libyan civilians as soon as possible.
While Libyans were grateful for the international community’s support, he said, such measures felt like an infringement of Libya’s sovereignty.
Libya’s interim government, the National Transitional Council (NTC), would reach a decision soon and inform the Security Council, he said.
But Qatar’s chief of staff, Major Gen. Hamad bin Ali al Attiyah, told Al Jazeera: “After it became clear to us that there is a vision for NATO to withdraw at any period, Libya’s friends from the Western world proposed this idea to build a new alliance to continue supporting Libya and they demand that Qatar leads this alliance because Qatar is a friend of theirs and a close friend to Libya.”
Last week, senior NATO officials agreed to a preliminary end date of October 31 for the alliance’s seven-month Libya mission.
The no-fly zone was one of three main elements in the NATO operation, the others being enforcement of an arms embargo and action to protect civilians and civilian areas under threat of attack.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that discussions on the conclusion of NATO’s mission were continuing.
“Our understanding from our mission to NATO and from our embassy is that the TNC may foresee a future role for NATO,” Nuland told reporters in Washington. “Some things have been discussed like support for border security, support for demobilization, decommissioning of weapons, these kinds of things. So those conversations are ongoing, and we just have to wait until we get to a stage where NATO makes a decision on where to go.”
Dabbashi also told the Security Council that former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi wasn’t executed by the militiamen who captured him, but that he died of wounds sustained beforehand.
He said that, according to initial inquiries, “Gadhafi was injured in the course of the clashes between his loyalists and the revolutionaries when he was arrested, he was bleeding from his abdomen and head, and he passed away with his arrival at the hospital in Misrata.”
Cell phone videos that surfaced the same day or shortly thereafter seemed to contradict official Libyan accounts of how Gadhafi died.
Dabbashi said an independent commission of inquiry has been set up and “its findings will be made public after the completion of the investigation.”
Gadhafi was buried Tuesday in Libya in an undisclosed location, five days after he was killed outside the city of Sirte. His son Mutassim and former defense minister Abu Bakr Younis, who were also killed, were buried at the same site.
The NTC and the United Nations have called for an independent investigation into the death of the man who ruled Libya for 42 years, while Human Rights Watch has described the deaths of Gadhafi and his son as “still unexplained.”
CNN’s Adam Levine and Christabelle Fombu contributed to this report.