Germany offers NATO bomb parts for Libya

AFP , Tuesday 28 Jun 2011

Germany to offer cash-strapped NATO with bomb components as the alliance extends military operations to oust Gaddafi in Libya

Germany said Tuesday it has made an offer to the NATO military alliance to supply bomb components for use in the stretched military alliance's 100-day-old operation in Libya.

"The German defence ministry has received a request of the relevant NATO agency ... Germany has expressed its general willingness to make available precision weaponry components," a ministry spokesman told AFP.

"The decision on whether the German offer is accepted lies with NAMSA," the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency, spokesman Holger Neumann told AFP, confirming a report in the online edition of Spiegel magazine.

He declined to comment on whether this was the first time that Germany had made such an offer. Germany in March abstained on a vote at the UN Security Council authorising a Libya mission to protect civilians and enforce a no-fly zone.

Three months after French jets flew their first missions over eastern Libya, NATO is still pounding targets across the country in what has become a war fought on multiple fronts, but with few clear victories for either side.

Outgoing US Defence Secretary Robert Gates took a parting swipe at NATO on June 10 in Brussels, saying the Libyan operation had laid bare the inability of cash-strapped alliance members to conduct an operation without US help.

"The mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country -- yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the US, once more, to make up the difference," Gates had said.

NATO took command of the mission on March 31, but only eight of the 28 alliance members are taking part in the air strikes, with Britain and France carrying the load while Washington provides refuelling and intelligence support.

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