NATO vows to keep up pressure on Gaddafi

The operation which was originally authorized for a 90-day period,has got three-month extension.

Brussels: The commander of NATO`s Libya
operation on Tuesday said any scaling down of daily airstrikes was
"not appropriate," despite international calls for a
negotiated end to the fighting.

Canadian Lt Gen Charles Bouchard said the bombing
campaign in its 90th day today had achieved significant
results. He said the situation in the opposition-held eastern
part of Libya had normalized, and that attacks on civilians in
the coastal town of Misrata and rebel-held enclaves in the
west had been much reduced.

"Our aim is to stay the course until we have brought
about ... a cessation of all violence against the population,"
Bouchard said in a televised news conference from his
headquarters in Naples, Italy.

Asked if NATO would consider easing up on the air
strikes in order to allow negotiations to start, Bouchard
said: "No, I do not believe that any scaling down of the
operation is appropriate or required at this time."

NATO`s campaign was intended to deliver a sharp,
devastating blow against Muammar Gaddafi`s forces and enable
the opposition to quickly oust his regime. But with the
campaign dragging on inconclusively, there have been
increasing international calls for a negotiated end to the
conflict.

The operation was originally authorized for a 90-day
period, which expires today, but the alliance`s governing body
has decided on a three-month extension.

PTI

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