Brussels (AFP) July 6, 2011
Libyan rebel leaders for the first time will hold talks with NATO’s 28-nation North Atlantic Council on July 13 to present their plans for democratic transition, the organization’s chief said Wednesday.
Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the rebel forces were making progress in their battle against Moamer Kadhafi’s troops while the Libyan leader’s “plans to retake country by force have fallen apart.”
NATO’s air war, meanwhile, has damaged or destroyed more than 2,700 military targets since March 31, including 600 tanks and artillery pieces and 800 ammunition stores, he said.
On the diplomatic front, a delegation led by Mahmud Jibril of the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council (NTC) will hold informal talks with the NATO’s decision-making council in Brussels on July 13.
“The goal of this meeting is to exchange points of view,” Rasmussen said. “The NTC has drafted a roadmap and it is important for the NATO Council to discuss this subject with Mr Jibril.”
Ramussen will also hold a bilateral meeting with Jibril the same day.
The rebel delegation is also expected to meet in Brussels next week with European Union president Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.
While the 27-nation EU has opened a mission in Benghazi, NATO does not have an office there.
Rasmussen has met NTC officials at meetings abroad of the international contact group on Libya.
Several NATO nations, including the United States, Britain and France, have recognized the NTC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Turkey became the latest alliance member to recognize them on Monday.
NATO is in the fourth month of an air war conducted under a UN mandate to protect civilians from Kadhafi troops.
Rasmussen refused to assess an offensive launched by the rebels on Wednesday in a bid to retake Tripoli.
But, he added, “it is clear that Kadhafi is losing ground every day.”
“His war machine is degraded, his generals and ministers are abandoning him and he has lost the support of the international community.
“In short, it’s game over.”
Source: Space War.