NATO's Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Photo:AP)
NATO's mission in Libya has moved significantly closer to success and will end soon, the military alliance's secretary general said on Monday.
"Our operation to protect civilians has moved significantly closer to success, but we are not there yet," Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a news conference.
It will be up to NATO's decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council, to determine when Operation Unified Protector can end, based on the assessment of military commanders, he said.
While he said he could not give a precise date for the mission's end, Rasmussen said: "I believe it will come soon."
The ability of the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) to protect civilians will be a key factor in the decision-making, he said.
NATO has carried out air strikes against Moamer Kadhafi's forces since March under a UN mandate to protect civilians from attacks.
The rebels, who have taken control of Tripoli and most of Libya, are readying for battle in Kadhafi's last strongholds of Bani Walid and Sirte.