Thursday

1st Dec 2022

Nato chief asks for more fighter jets in Libya

Nato needs more fighter jets to protect Libyan civilians from Gaddafi's continued attacks, the alliance's secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Nato foreign ministers in Berlin on Thursday (14 April), as the humanitarian situation in rebel-held cities continues to worsen.

"To avoid civilian casualties we need very sophisticated equipment so we need a few more precision fighter ground attack aircraft for air to ground missions," Rasmussen said during a press conference at the end of the Berlin meeting.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He cited a briefing given to Nato ministers by the alliance's top commander James Stavridis, who noted that Gaddafi forces are changing tactics and hiding heavy arms in populated areas, which makes it more difficult for allied forces to target and destroy them.

Rasmussen admitted that while ministers agreed in general to continue their support for mission Unified Protector, he did not get "specific pledges or promises" for more fighter jets. "But I heard indications that give me hope. And by nature I'm an optimist," he added.

France and Britain have in recent days called on their Nato allies to step up their contributions to the mission, as Gaddafi forces continue to strike the city of Misrata, where hundreds of civilians are feared to have been killed in the six-week long siege.

"A massacre ... will take place here if Nato does not intervene strongly," a rebel spokesman in Misrata told Reuters on Thursday.

When the US handed over to Nato the control of the Libyan operations two weeks ago, it also pulled back some 50 fighter jets, hoping that other Nato countries would step up their contributions. Britain, France, Denmark, Belgium and Norway are now left to do most of the airstrikes.

French foreign minister Alain Juppe said he made a personal appeal to his US counterpart Hillary Clinton for Washington to resume air raids in Libya, but his calls were rebuffed.

"I told her we needed them back, we would have liked them to return," he said, adding that Clinton reassured him US planes would continue to fly on a case-by-case basis.

In separate remarks to press, Clinton slammed the "atrocities" in Misrata, but was not willing to pledge any more fighter jets than Washington has already committed to the mission. She also called on the alliance to maintain "resolve and unity," as some member countries - notably the host of the ministerial meeting, Germany - are openly against the Nato-led strikes.

The so-called Brics emerging powers - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – also criticised the Nato mission after talks in China and urged an end to the two-month civil war.

Meanwhile, Colonel Gaddafi on Thursday made his appearance on the streets of Tripoli, driving in an open car and shaking his fists in the air, despite all the calls from the international community for him to step down.

"God, Libya, Moammar and no one else," supporters shouted around him.

A joint article published by the leaders of Britain, France and the US said that a future with Gaddafi still in power would be an "unconscious betrayal" by the rest of the world.

"It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own people can play a part in their future government," Sarkozy, Cameron and Obama wrote.

EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary

Prime minister Viktor Orbán's government has to implement 27 measures "fully and correctly" before any payment from the €5.8bn recovery fund can be made, or the suspended €7.5bn of cohesion funds can be unblocked.

Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

Terezija Gras from Croatia, Dutchman Hans Leijtens, and Frontex's current interim executive director Aija Kalnaja, are all competing for a job left vacant by the resignation of Fabrice Leggeri.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

Nato renews membership vow to Ukraine

Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday asked for air defence systems and generators, as Russia has been pounding Ukraine's vital energy infrastructure.

Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

Terezija Gras from Croatia, Dutchman Hans Leijtens, and Frontex's current interim executive director Aija Kalnaja, are all competing for a job left vacant by the resignation of Fabrice Leggeri.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

News in Brief

  1. 'Pro-Kremlin group' in EU Parliament cyberattack
  2. Ukraine will decide on any peace talks, Borrell says
  3. Germany blocks sale of chip factory to Chinese subsidiary
  4. Strikes and protests over cost-of-living grip Greece, Belgium
  5. Liberal MEPs want Musk quizzed in parliament
  6. Bulgarian policeman shot dead at Turkish border
  7. 89 people allowed to disembark in Italy, aid group says
  8. UN chief tells world: Cooperate on climate or perish

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary
  2. EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty
  3. Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs
  4. Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?
  5. Why the EU asbestos directive revision ... needs revising
  6. Nato renews membership vow to Ukraine
  7. Catalan spyware victims demand justice
  8. Is the overwhelming critique of Qatar hypocritical?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  6. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us