NATO to hold emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Council

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BRUSSELS: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is expected to hold an emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Council on Friday afternoon to discuss the uprising in Libya, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen made the announcement during a visit to Budapest. "What is happening in Libya is of great concern to all of us. It's a crisis in our immediate neighborhood," he said. "It affects the lives and safety of Libyan civilians and those of thousands of citizens from NATO member states."

The NATO Secretary-General said he will convene an emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Council on Friday afternoon to consult on the crisis in Libya. "I will return to Brussels in a few hours. Before I do so, I will meet with EU Defense Ministers and discuss with them how we, in a pragmatic way, can help those in need and limit the consequences of these events," he added.

Rasmussen refused to answer a question as to which action NATO is considering to help resolve the crisis. "I will not go into specifics at this time, but clearly priority must be given to evacuation and possibly, also, humanitarian assistance," he said.

He added: "I think, again, it's a bit pre-mature to go into specifics, but it's well known that NATO has assets that can be used in a situation like this and NATO can act as an enabler and coordinator, if and when, individual member states want to take action."

On Thursday, Rasmussen said the alliance will not intervene in Libya, where security forces have launched a violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.

"I cannot consider the situation in Libya a direct threat to NATO or NATO Allies, but, of course, there may be negative repercussions," Rasmussen said at a press conference in Kiev. "Such upheaval may have a negative impact on migration, refugees, etc., and that also goes for neighboring countries."

He added: "But I would like to stress that NATO as such has no plans to intervene. We have not received any request in that regard and any actions should be based on a UN mandate."

Libya has been plunged into chaos as massive anti-government protests continue nationwide, resulting in a violent crackdown by security forces which included aerial bombardments on protesters. At least 300 people and as many as more than 1,000 people have been killed in the uprising, but confirmed information has been difficult to obtain due to reporting restrictions by Libyan authorities.

(BNO NEWS )

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