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Tuesday
Mar082011

NATO Increases Air Surveillance Over Libya to 24 Hours

File photo of a NATO E-3A Sentry AWACS aircraft. USAF(BRUSSELS, Belgium) -- NATO has increased its airborne surveillance of Libya to 24 hours, the U.S. Ambassador to NATO told reporters on a conference call Monday.

"The decision was made to indeed increase the surveillance of the NATO-AWACS capability to make it 24/7, to have a better picture of what's really going on in this part of the world," Ambassador Ivo Daalder said speaking from Brussels, Belgium.

NATO's Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft had previously been providing surveillance about 10 hours a day.

Daalder said the planes will be used to look "for aircraft and ground traffic, both in Libya but also on -- at sea, so that's what it's looking for.  It really is a way to find out what's going on in terms of traffic patterns...it is not looking for individuals."

The extended surveillance "was an agreement that we would look at these issues a little closer over the next few days so that when defense ministers meet on Thursday here in Brussels, they may be in a position to make a decision," Daalder added.

NATO officials could vote by Thursday on whether to ban all air traffic over Libya while considering the requirements of establishing a no-fly zone.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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