Spanish parliament votes to extend Libya operations

The majority of Spanish parliamentary parties voted on Tuesday to extend the country’s participation in NATO’s Libya operation by two months.

Spanish Defense Minister Carme Chacon said the international coalition had to continue its “legitimate intervention in the region” to resolve the conflict.

The conflict can not be resolved by purely military methods and required “political and diplomatic efforts” to secure a lasting peace in the region, she said.

Spanish troops will not become involved in air strikes or a ground operation in the North African country, the minister said.

Chacon put the cost of Spain’s three-month participation in the operation at 43 million euros.

Heavy fighting has continued in the port of Misurata, the only rebel-held western city, which Gaddafi’s forces have been pounding for days. Government troops are also continuing to attack the key rebel stronghold of Ajdabiya.

An international meeting in Rome next month will discuss the Libya crisis amid calls for NATO to increase pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

MADRID, April 19 (RIA Novosti)

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