NATO provides ‘safe passage’ to Libyan port of Misrata

NATO forces participating in the operation Unified Protector in Libya on the side of the rebels provided sea lane security in the Libyan port of Misrata, Vice Admiral Rinaldo Veri said on Tuesday.

“Despite the mine problem, we provided a clear passage to the port,” Veri told reporters in Brussels.

Nineteen NATO ships were patrolling the central Mediterranean on Monday in order to monitor the implementation of the arms embargo on Libya. Since the operation began on March 31, alliance soldiers stopped 757 ships for inspections.

The unrest in the country, which began in mid-February, has already claimed thousands of lives, with Muammar Gaddafi’s troops maintaining their combat capabilities despite NATO airstrikes against them.

A total of 14 of the 28 NATO countries are taking part in Unified Protector in Libya, which includes airstrikes, a no-fly zone and naval enforcement of an arms embargo.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya on March 17, paving the way for a military operation against Gaddafi which began two days later. The command of the operation was shifted from a U.S.-led international coalition to NATO in late March.

BRUSSELS, May 3 (RIA Novosti) 

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