Diplomats: NATO agrees on three principles for Libya action
NATO nations have agreed on three principles which would have to be met for the alliance to consider any military action against Libya, diplomats in Brussels said Wednesday, dpa reported.
NATO has come under intense scrutiny since the outbreak of fighting in Libya, as opponents of Colonel Moamer Gaddafi have called for an international mission to ground Gaddafi's air force.
NATO defence ministers are to debate their reaction to the situation on Thursday.
Ahead of that meeting, diplomats from several NATO countries said that the alliance had set three principles to govern its action: a "demonstrable need" for NATO intervention, a "clear legal basis" and "firm regional support."
A "clear legal basis" is generally understood to mean explicit United Nations backing for any direct military action, but diplomats said that other actions, such as efforts to provide humanitarian missions with logistical support, could run under other mandates.
"Firm regional support" is understood to mean that the majority of countries and organizations in the area, though not necessarily all of them, give their explicit backing to action.
NATO has already ordered its military commanders to draw up plans for possible operations. Defence ministers on Thursday are expected to debate those plans and, if necessary, call for more detailed studies of some of the options.
The meeting is not expected to call for the imposition of a no-fly zone, since the UN has not yet demanded such a measure.