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NATO commander in Turkey for Libya meetings

NATO hold talks with Turkey leadership on proposed Ankara participation in operations in Libya

AFP , Thursday 24 Mar 2011
Views: 2449
Views: 2449

The commander of NATO forces in Europe, US Admiral James Stavridis, was holding talks in Ankara on Thursday on proposed Turkish participation in operations in Libya, official sources said.

Stavridis, NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe, was to have closed door meetings Thursday with Turkey's military chief General Isik Kosaner and Minister of Defence Vecdi Gonul following talks Wednesday with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, said a Turkish official who asked not to be named.

The meetings coincide with a vote in Turkey's parliament on a proposal to send five navy ships and a submarine to take part in a NATO naval operation to enforce the arms embargo on Libya.

Two of the vessels were already at sea in the Mediterranean and four others had left their home port Wednesday and were heading for the zone of operation, Admiral Esref Ugur Yigit, the head of the Turkish navy, was quoted as saying Thursday.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ruled out a Turkish role in combat missions in Libya but has said the country could take part in "inspection" operations in the Mediterranean.

Turkey, along with fellow NATO member Germany, has expressed strong reservations about armed intervention in Libya. Davutoglu said Wednesday that Turkey was willing to take part in the NATO operation as long as it did not exceed the mandate of UN resolution 1973 on Libya approved last week.

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