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Posted On: 21 March 2011 11:04 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

Qatar planes join Libya operations

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The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani says the reason behind the Qatari decision is to stop the killing and targeting of civilians in Libya Four Qatari planes will soon move into the Libyan zone of operations, a French defence ministry spokesman said yesterday. “As announced by the Qatari authorities, it will deploy four planes in the zone to be able to take part in the operations, which is another sign of Arab participation in this international operation to protect civilians,” Laurent Teisseire told reporters. A second official said the Qatari planes should arrive soon, although he did not say where they would operate from. French air forces would work closely with the Qataris, Teisseire added, calling Qatar’s decision a “crucial point”. Earlier, HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani said that Qatar would take part in the ongoing military action against Libya. Speaking to Al Jazeera TV channel after the conclusion of Paris summit on Sunday, the Prime Minister said that the reason behind the Qatari decision was to stop the killing and targeting of civilians in Libya. He stressed that Qatar’s participation was not intended to cause any harm to Libyan people, nor Colonel (Gaddafi) and his sons but was aimed at “stopping the bloodbath”. “Qatar is participating in the military action because it is necessary for Arab states to take part,” Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim told Al Jazeera satellite channel. “The situation is untenable in Libya... this is not a confrontation between protesters and police forces; it is an open war in which mercenaries are participating, and this must stop as soon as possible,” he said. The ANSA news agency said in Rome that planes from the UAE were expected to arrive at an Italian air force base to take part in the operations over Libya. In Washington, US Vice President Joe Biden said Algeria and Kuwait both endorsed the coalition efforts to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya with military action. As warplanes took off from Italian bases and anti-aircraft guns roared in Tripoli, the Libyan military announced a new ceasefire, saying it was heeding an African Union call for an immediate cessation of hostilities. The US military said the first stage of coalition raids had been “successful” with Gaddafi’s offensive on Benghazi stopped in its tracks. But dissenting voices arose as the scale and method of Operation Odyssey Dawn became apparent, including from the Arab League which had backed the no-fly zone. “What has happened in Libya differs from the goal of imposing a no-fly zone and what we want is the protection of civilians and not bombing other civilians,” League Secretary General Amr Moussa told reporters. “From the start we requested only that a no-fly zone be set up to protect Libyan civilians and avert any other developments or additional measures.” Moussa said preparations were now under way for an emergency meeting of the 22-member Arab League. Russia, which abstained in Thursday’s Security Council vote instead of using its veto, called for an end to “indiscriminate use of force” by the coalition, citing the casualties reported by Tripoli of 48 dead and 150 wounded. China, another abstainer, expressed regret at the air strikes, saying it opposed using force in international relations. In the West’s biggest intervention in the Arab world since the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, eight years earlier, US warships and a British submarine fired more than 120 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Libya late on Saturday, US military officials said. Reuters