June 29, 2011 Budva, Montenegro (AFP)
NATO has the necessary resources and assets for its operations in Libya, but European members of the alliance should step up their cooperation so they can be used more efficiently, NATO's chief said Wednesday.
"Firstly, I can assure you that we have all resources and assets necessary to continue the operation (in Libya) and bring it to a successful end," Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters here.
Rasmussen spoke after talks with Montenegrin Prime Minister Igor Luksic alongside a ministerial meeting of the Adriatic Charter, which groups several Balkan states, members of NATO or those aiming to join the Atlantic alliance.
"European defence investments are too small. One way forward would be to cooperate more to share and pull resources to get more efficient use of resources," said Rasmussen who is NATO secretary general.
He estimated that the operation in Libya "demonstrates that the European allies plus Canada and partners in the region can actually take a leading responsibility for an operation".
"In the past, we were used to having American leadership for all operations. This time, the majority of aircraft have been provided by the European allies and Canada and countries in the region," he said.
France, Britain and the United States launched the first strikes against the Libyan regime on March 19 before handing control of the operation to NATO despite French reservations.
Only eight of 28 alliance members are taking part in the air strikes, and one of them, Norway, has announced that it will end its mission in August because its air force is too small to continue.