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NATO Delays Decision To End Libya Mission

NATO air strikes played a prominent role in supporting the Libyan uprising.
NATO has decided to delay a formal decision to end its air campaign in Libya by the end of the month.

Following Muammar Qaddafi's capture by opposition forces and his death last week, NATO's governing body announced a preliminary decision to end the seven-month campaign by October 31.

Ambassadors from the alliance's 28 members were expected to formalize that decision at a meeting in Brussels on October 26.

NATO officials said the alliance's ambassadors will now meet on October 28 as consultations were continuing with the United Nations and Libya's National Transitional Council.

On October 26, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of the National Transitional Council, called on NATO to continue its mission until at least the end of the year.

Speaking at a meeting of countries supporting Libya's interim leadership in Doha, Qatar, Jalil said Libya still needs assistance in "securing our borders against infiltration of arms" and illegal immigration.

Jalil said that extending the NATO mission would also protect civilians from attacks by Qaddafi loyalists who had fled abroad.

In a UN-mandated operation to protect civilians from attacks by Qaddafi's forces, NATO has been conducting air strikes, enforcing a no-fly zone and maintaining an arms embargo with naval patrols since March 31.

NATO air strikes backed Libyan ground forces that overthrew Qaddafi in August.

compiled from agency reports