All NATO allies are committed to fulfill their obligations under the U.N. resolution, Rasmussen said. â€œThat is why we have decided to assume responsibility for the no-fly zone,â€ He added.
Speaking in Washington this evening after meetings at the White House, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said a wide range of nations has responded to the Libyan peopleâ€™s needs.
â€œWhen the Libyan people sought to realize their democratic aspirations, they were met by extreme violence from their own government,â€ Clinton said. â€œThe Libyan people appealed to the world to help stop the brutal attacks on them, and the world listened.â€
Hundreds of thousands of civilians were in danger, the secretary said, and an international coalition responded.
â€œAfter only five days, we have made significant progress,â€ she said. â€œA massacre in Benghazi was prevented. Gadhafi's air force and air defenses have been rendered largely ineffective. And the coalition is in control of the skies above Libya.â€
Humanitarian relief is beginning to reach the people who need it, she said, noting, â€œAt least 18 doctors and nurses from an organization funded by the United States Agency for International Development [are] in Benghazi â€¦ beginning to provide support to the city's main hospital.â€
President Barack Obama stressed that the U.S. militaryâ€™s actions â€œwould be limited in time and scope,â€ Clinton said. â€œOur mission has been to use America's unique capabilities to create the conditions for the no-fly zone, and to assist in meeting urgent humanitarian needs.â€
Today the United States and its NATO allies agreed to transition command and control for the no-fly zone over Libya to NATO, Clinton said.
â€œThis coalition includes countries beyond NATO, including Arab partners, and we expect all of them to [provide] important political guidance going forward,â€ she said.
Arab leadership and participation is the coalition is crucial, she said.
â€œThe Arab League showed that leadership with its pivotal statement on Libya,â€ Clinton said. â€œWe are deeply appreciative of their continuing contributions, including aircrafts and pilots from Qatar.â€
This evening the United Arab Emirates announced it will join the coalition and send planes to help protect Libyan civilians and enforce the no-fly zone, the secretary said.
â€œWe welcome this important step,â€ she added. â€œIt underscores both the breadth of this international coalition and the depth of concern in the region for the plight of the Libyan people.â€
As NATO assumes command-and-control responsibilities, the welfare of Libyan civilians will be of paramount concern, she said.
â€œOur military will continue to provide support to our efforts to make sure that Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 will be enforced,â€ Clinton said. â€œIt is an effort that we believe is very important, and we'll look forward to coordinating closely with all those nations that are participating.â€
March 24, 2011: By Karen Parrish- American Forces Press Service
Redistributed by www.SupportOurTroops.org\