U.S. welcomes UAE's involvement in Libyan operation
The White House on Thursday welcomed the United Arab Emirates' agreement to join the U.S.-led military operation against Libya, Xinhua reported.
"This critical participation by the UAE further underscores the broad, international support for the protection of the Libyan people," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.
Calling the UAE "a leader on this issue within the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League," the statement said that "we look forward to continuing to work closely with the UAE and all of our regional and international partners."
The UAE agreed to send 12 planes to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya, becoming the second Arab country after Qatar to join the operation against Libya, which U.S. military officials said has entered a second phase with focus on decimating Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's ground forces. Coalition air strikes have increased over Tripoli, capital of Libya, with warplanes targeting fuel depots and local military installations.
NATO decided on Thursday to enforce the no-fly zone authorized by a UN Security Council resolution adopted last week to protect Libyan civilians, while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States has agreed to hand over "command and control for the no-fly zone over Libya to NATO."
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told CNN that the military alliance has not made a decision yet about whether it should take on "that broader responsibility."