WASHINGTON, June 6 (Xinhua) -- NATO will not send in troops on the ground although it has added Apache attack helicopters to its arsenal in the air raids on Libya, the military alliance's chief said on Monday.
"Let me stress that we have no intention whatsoever to put boots on the ground," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told the CBS TV network in an interview, saying that the military bloc will continue its air operations "with the aim to fully implement the UN mandate and protect the civilian population in Libya."
British Apache and French attack helicopters joined the air raids for the first time on Saturday, in an effort to end a deadlocked situation on the ground in Libya, in which the opposition forces had failed to make much headway.
Rasmussen reiterated NATO's three military objectives in Libya - - a complete end to all attacks against civilians, a withdrawal of government forces to their bases and barracks, and "immediate and unhindered humanitarian access" to people in need.
"We will continue our operation until these objectives are met, " he asserted, noting that a parallel political track is also underway, in which the international community has put a lot of pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for him to leave power.
"It's hard to imagine a complete end to attacks against civilians as long as he remains in power," the NATO chief said. " The fact is that we have considerably degraded his war machine. We see the opposition advance in Libya. The Gaddafi regime is more and more isolated every day."
Libyan FM enters Tunisia
TUNIS, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Libyan Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdelaati Laabidi on Monday crossed the Ras El Jedir border point, heading for Djerba's airport, the official TAP press agency reported.
He will then travel to African countries for negotiations with the African Union through Djerba's international airport, said TAP, adding no information has been released on the reasons of his visit, nor his final destination. Full story
NATO jets target Libyan state broadcaster
TRIPOLI, June 6 (Xinhua) -- NATO-led warplanes hit offices of the Libyan state broadcaster in Tripoli on Monday, providing a major boost to Libyan rebel forces, a Xinhua correspondent said.
NATO continued to intensify its airstrikes, launching several rounds of attacks. Jets struck military barracks in Tripoli and British Apache helicopters destroyed a rocket launch system near Brega. Full story
Former British military chief says helicopter attacks on Libya heap pressure on Tripoli
LONDON, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Britain's latest helicopter attacks on Libya were an intensified military effort to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, former Chief of the General Staff of Britain Richard Dannatt was quoted by a newspaper Sunday.
Dannatt said in an article in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, a right-wing weekly newspaper, that the deployment of Apache helicopters by Britain to attack Gaddafi's forces "sends the strongest message: that a military stalemate and the political status quo are not acceptable, so the pressure will be intensified until he goes." Full story
Special Report: Foreign Military Intervention in Libya