The Netherlands sends fighter jets, 200 soldiers to Nato Libya mission

The Netherland is to send six F16 fighter jets and 200 soldiers to take part in the Nato mission in Libya, the cabinet decided at an emergency meeting on Monday night.

The minesweeper HMS Haarlem, which is in the area on exercises, and a refuelling plane will also join the Nato efforts to enforce the weapons embargo on the North African country.
The 200 military staff includes crew for AWACs surveillance aircraft and staff officers to lead the operation, the ministerial briefing said.
The cost of the Dutch contribution is around €20m, which will come from a special government fund for international activities.
No bombing
The Dutch aircraft will fly under the Nato flag. Their task, which will last three months, is to monitor the weapons embargo. If Nato also agrees to enforce the no-fly zone, Dutch equipment and soldiers will take part in that as well.
The Netherlands will not be involved in bombing missions, defence minister Hans Hillen said. ‘They will primarily fly above the sea,’ he told a news conference after the meeting.
The aim of the Nato mission is to protect Libyan citizens, prime minister Mark Rutte told reporters. ‘Innocent civilians are being bombed. It is high time to say ‘here and no further’.’
MPs are expected to debate the Netherlands’ participation in the Nato efforts on Wednesday. Most parties are expected to vote in favour, although the Socialist Party has already said it will vote against.
The Netherlands said on Monday it would not get involved in international efforts to restore order in Libya until formally requested to do so by Nato.
Arms embargo
The BBC reports that Nato on Tuesday decided to enforce a UN arms embargo on Libya.
Nato will use aircraft and ships in the Mediterranean to ‘conduct operations to monitor, report and, if needed, interdict vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries,’ the BBC said.
According to the New York Time, there is still disagreement within Nato about its role, following France’s insistence that the alliance not play a leading role in the operation.
Nato now seems likely to provide ‘command and control’ functions, but with a separate authority running the operation, which includes Arab and other non-Nato countries, the paper said.

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