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Nato denies reports it is charging Libya for operations

Nato officials have denied claims that the alliance was planning to charge Tripoli for the operations it conducted in Libya

Brussels: North Atlantic Treaty Organistion (Nato) officials have denied claims that the alliance was planning to charge Tripoli for the operations it conducted in Libya.

“Allegations that we will ask the Libyan government to foot the bill for the operations are totally baseless and lack credibility,” officials said.

Full command of the military intervention in Libya, launched by a US, France and UK-led multi-state coalition on March 17, to implement Security Council Resolution 1973, was taken over by Nato on April 1.

The fighting ended in late October following the death of former leader Muammar Gaddafi and Nato ended its operations on October 31, despite a request from the new Libyan authorities to extend it until December 31.

While Libyans said that they were grateful to Nato for helping end a regime that ruled over them with an iron fist, rumours spread in the North African country that Nato wanted to be paid for its seven-month operations.

“Nato was implementing relevant United Nations resolutions and never thought about charging the Libyan authorities. The money came from Nato member state tax payers and each of the countries that participated in the mission funded its own contribution,” the officials said on the sidelines of the meeting of the foreign ministers of the 28-member alliance.

The ministers hope to “deepen cooperation” with Arab countries and to build on the new partnership achieved during the operations in Libya.

Qatar, UAE and Jordan contributed to the mission supported by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Arab League.

Their contribution was praised by Nato officials at the alliance headquarters in Brussels.

The two days of talks will also cover the Afghan war and the situation in Kosovo. The ministers will also seek to dispel Russian concerns over their missile shield project and will sit with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday.

According to Nato officials, the message will be that they will go ahead with the missile shield project, but want to reach a cooperation accord with Moscow.

“I hope that Russia can agree,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Nato’s secretary general, said.