Day 6 of NATO’s Political Impasse: “No decision on anything”


From David Brunnstrom, Reuters:  NATO failed again to agree on Wednesday on taking over command of military operations against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in Libya from the United States, chiefly due to Turkish reservations, diplomats said.

After ambassadors of the 28-nation alliance ended a third day [NATO leaders began meeting every day last Friday] of wrangling in Brussels without a deal, one senior NATO diplomat said: "No decision on anything."

Turkey, a Muslim ally, said it did not want NATO to take responsibility for offensive operations that could cause civilian casualties or be in charge of enforcing a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone while coalition aircraft were simultaneously bombing Libyan forces.

"It would be impossible for us to share responsibility in an operation that some authorities have described as a ‘crusade’," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has used that term, as has Gaddafi.

"It’s important that the effort be gathered under one umbrella, and we will continue to negotiate until we achieve this. No one should make this out as Turkey is trying to block efforts, this is wrong … It may be a long night, but we will continue talks until Turkey’s concerns are put to rest," Davutoglu said.

A Turkish diplomat said talks would continue Thursday. One NATO source said Turkey wanted Western coalition countries to finish their air strikes before NATO took over command, so the alliance was not blamed for any accidents. …

"For reasons of efficiency, we want a single command structure to run the coalition action, and NATO has such capabilities, so we must use its resources," French government spokesman Francois Baroin said after a cabinet meeting in Paris.

"We are working to ensure that the coalition continues to retain the political leadership," Baroin said. "Talks with our allies are being finalized. It’s not quite nailed down yet."

The United States, Britain, Italy and Norway all want NATO’s council of ambassadors in charge of policy.  (photo: Getty)

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