Denmark, Norway prepare contribution to Libya action

AFP , Saturday 19 Mar 2011

Denmark and Norway declared their participation in the international military intervention set for Libya following a UN resolution for a no-fly zone

Denmark and Norway said Friday they would take part in an international military intervention in Libya following the adoption of a UN resolution establishing a no-fly zone.

Denmark took the strongest stance, with Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen telling reporters he had the support of parliament to deploy warplanes to Libya.

Parliament was set to vote on the issue later Friday, but Rasmussen said he had already received "positive messages in advance from the political parties."

"It's a serious decision to enter into war... I hope that today in Denmark, we will make history," he said.

"We are a small country, but we have the historic responsibility to live up to our international responsibility," he told reporters, according to the website of daily Politiken.

The Danish defence ministry said the country's contribution -- up to six F-16 warplanes and a transport plane -- would be sent to Sicily Saturday.

Norway meanwhile said it would also participate in international military action against Libya, but was more vague on how exactly it planned to do so.

"We have decided to take part in the operation. But it is too early to say in what way," Norwegian defence minister Grete Faremo told the Verdens Gang newspaper.

The Norwegian contribution would most likely take place within a NATO operation, Foreign minister Jonas Gahr Stoere later told a news conference.

"We will of course take our responsibilities by contributing to the implementation of the resolution that was adopted," he said.

"For Norway, the normal framework to discuss these things is NATO, in collaboration with our allies," he added.

Nordic neighbours were less affirmative, with Sweden saying it would look into an eventual request by NATO and Finland saying it would follow a common European Union stance.

"Sweden takes decisions on committing its military troops independently. If we are asked, we will take a position," Foreign Minister Carl Bildt told reporters.

Bildt said Sweden -- which is not a NATO member -- welcomed the UN Security Council's decision, taken late Thursday, to establish a no-fly zone over Libya.

A spokeswoman for the Finnish foreign ministry told AFP "the matter is being handled by organs within the EU," adding Finland was not planning to make unilateral decisions on the matter.

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