Libya Rebels, NATO Don’t Have Joint Operations, Official Says

NATO doesn’t have a joint operations center with the Libyan rebels opposing the forces of Muammar Qaddafi, a NATO official said after a rebel spokesman told journalists a “joint operations room” was coordinating NATO air attacks and the movement of rebel forces.

NATO doesn’t have any day-to-day coordination function with the opposition forces and doesn’t have any troops on the ground, an official of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization said in an interview. He asked not to be named for reasons of operational protocol.

A spokesman for the rebels’ National Transitional Council, Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, said earlier “there is a joint operations room,” replying to a question on coordination at a news conference in Benghazi on how NATO and the council’s forces are coordinating their efforts against Qaddafi’s troops. Ghoga declined to give more details.

NATO is coordinating the enforcement of a United Nations resolution designed to protect civilians in Libya by using a no- fly zone and an embargo of weapons shipments to the country.

The NATO official said that while there may be personnel from individual nations that are performing a liaison function, they don’t act under NATO command. The only coordination is diplomatic, he said.

The official also denied press reports that NATO member countries were running out of munitions needed for the Libya mission.

To contact the reporters on this story: Maher Chmaytelli in Dubai at mchmaytelli@bloomberg.net; Peter S. Green in new York at psgreen@bloomberg.net

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