Secretary general says NATO unprepared for Libya crisis

By Remi Adekoya

Alliance has "no plans to act," but is preparing for eventualities.

During a visit to Warsaw on Thursday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen admitted that the ongoing unrest in Libya had caught the alliance napping.

“The dramatic situation in Libya is a crisis on our doorstep that none of us predicted. That is why NATO must be ready and united to respond to the full spectrum of security challenges with collective defense or crisis management, and with a full range of capabilities,” he stated.

Mr Rasmussen stressed, however, that NATO has no plans to act in Libya.

“We are not looking to intervene in Libya, but as an effective defense alliance and a security organization we have asked our military to conduct all the necessary planning for all eventualities,” Rasmussen stated.

He added, “We have clearly outlined there are three conditions to be fulfilled before NATO can take action: firstly – there must be a demonstrable need for our assistance; secondly – strong regional support; and thirdly – a clear legal basis, and that means a UN mandate.”

Mr Rasmussen and President Bronisław Komorowski attended the opening of the 4th Forum on Euro-Atlantic Security in Warsaw, an event which brought together defense ministers from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania.

Speaking at the Forum, President Komorowski said that West had been unprepared for transformations in North Africa and the Arab world, which reminded him of the collapse of the communist bloc.

“Polish freedom came as a complete surprise then,” the president observed.
Warsaw Business Journal