Norway to quit Libya operation by August
Posted on: 09:22 PM IST Jun 10, 2011
Oslo: Norway will scale down its fighter jet contribution in Libya from six to four planes and withdraw completely from the NATO-led operation by August 1, the government said on Friday.
Defence Minister Grete Faremo said she expects understanding from NATO allies because Norway has a small air force and cannot "maintain a large fighter jet contribution during a long time."
The announcement comes as the Obama administration puts pressure on Germany, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands to shoulder a greater share of the alliance campaign, which has heated up with intensified air strikes on Libya's capital.
The Scandinavian country's air force says Norwegian F-16 jets have carried out about 10 percent of the NATO air strikes in Libya since March 31.
A NATO spokeswoman said the bloc appreciates Norway's contribution to the operation.
"We also note the fact that there are still several weeks to go, that they will continue contributing for quite some time yet, which we also appreciate," Oana Lungescu told The Associated Press.
The alliance decided last weekend to extend the Libyan mission for 90 days, into late September. But it's unclear how fast the intervention will be able to end. The Libyan opposition holds about one-third of the inhabitable area of the country, but has struggled to make advances against Moammar Gadhafi's forces.