Washington: The North Atlantic Treaty
Organization (NATO) is increasing its air-born surveillance of Libya`s air space, a top US diplomat to the group Tuesday said
but noted that a no-fly zone over the North African country
would not be of much help in terms of its enforcement.
"The decision was made to indeed increase the
surveillance of the NATO-AWACS capability to make it 24/7, to
have a better picture of what`s really going on in this part
of the world, and it was an agreement that we would look at
these issues a little closer over the next few days so that
when defence ministers meet on Thursday here in Brussels, they
may be in a position to make a decision," the US Ambassador to
NATO, Ivo Daalder, told reporters during a conference call.
So far NATO AWACS has been providing surveillance some
10 hours a day.
"Now we`ll have 24/7, there could be some monitor
flags going in and out of the country, which is not
unimportant for this purpose," he said.
"The NATO surveillance planes are really looking for
aircraft and ground traffic, both in Libya but also at sea, so
that`s what it`s looking for. It really is a way to find out
what`s going on in terms of traffic patterns, and it is not
looking for individuals," the US Ambassador asserted.
Responding to questions, Daalder acknowledged the
drawbacks in the system to implement the no-fly zone over
"It`s important to understand that no-fly zones are
more effective against fighters, but they really have a
limited effect against the helicopters or the kind of ground
operations that we`ve seen, which is why a no-fly zone, even
if it were to be established, isn`t really going to impact
what is happening there today. That doesn`t mean we shouldn`t
look at it and we are and we will but it is not going to
be the solution to every problem," he said.
"We are looking at the no-fly zone in a variety of
different options. We haven`t actually had a discussion yet.
The military authorities haven?t finalized that planning. That
will happen in the next day or so. We will have a discussion
at our level, and then of course, we`ll have a more in-depth
discussion when the defence ministers come here," he said.
The United States, Daalder said, is comfortable at the
pace at which Britain and France are moving with regard to
"I think by towards the end of the week we will be in
a position to know what it would take to do a no-fly zone, we
would have a pretty good idea what kind of options are
available," he said.