"This decision sends a clear message to the Kadhafi regime. We are determined to continue our operation to protect the people of Libya," said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen after the North Atlantic Council, the decision-making body of the 28-nation alliance, agreed to extend the mission.
The current military action expires on 27 June 2011.
Wednesday's decision will give individual nations time to prepare their contributions for the next 90 days, a NATO Diplomat said. "There were very positive signs that nations will extend with the appropriate number of resources”, he added.
A senior European Diplomat warned that a prolonged stalemate raises the risk of the partition of Libya, with Kadhafi entrenched in the west and the rebels controlling the east. "We are currently in a tie-game situation in Libya and nobody can predict when the NATO operation will end," the Diplomat said.
NATO aircraft have conducted more than 9,000 sorties, including some 3,500 aimed at identifying targets or conducting strikes, since March 31.
The Libyan government said Tuesday that the air war had cost the lives of 718 civilians and wounded more than 4,000.
Source: Agence France Presse - AFP