News / Africa

Panetta says Libya Mission Should Continue

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta meets with Egyptian Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, second from right, and Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf at the Financial Authority House in Cairo, Egypt, October 4, 2011.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta meets with Egyptian Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, second from right, and Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf at the Financial Authority House in Cairo, Egypt, October 4, 2011.
Luis Ramirez

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the NATO mission in Libya should continue as long there is fighting in the country.  Panetta spoke in Egypt, where he stopped on Tuesday to offer Egyptian leaders help in returning the country to civilian rule.  

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta praised Egyptian leaders for the progress he said they are making in transitioning the country to democratic rule, following the popular uprising early this year that ousted longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.  

Panetta spoke in Cairo as he headed to a NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels where the subject of Libya is on the agenda.  The U.S. defense secretary said the NATO mission to protect civilians should continue as long as there is fighting. “There continues to be fighting. Fighting in Sirt.  Fighting in other areas.  We still do not know where Qadhafi is.  And so there are still some question marks with regards to the situation there," he said.

NATO has committed to keep the operation going for another three months.  Panetta said he will speak with ministers of NATO allies in Brussels this week to get a sense of how they feel about keeping the operation going until the fighting ends between Libyan revolutionary forces and holdouts loyal to former leader Moammar Qadhafi. “I think the fighting has to end.  They can not continue to have the level of fighting that they are still having there and be able to have the kind of governance issues that they are going to have to confront in order to establish stability in Libya," he said.

The U.S. official met with Egypt's interim leader, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and the country's intelligence chief.  He offered reassurances that the United States stands ready to assist them with the transition to democratic rule.  The first phase of parliamentary elections is scheduled for next month.  

Panetta also repeated the Obama administration's calls for emergency rule, imposed three decades ago, to be lifted soon. Egyptian leaders recently tightened that rule following a mob attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo.  They are scheduled to lift it next year.  

The U.S. defense secretary said the United States has urged Egyptian officials to release Ilan Grapel, an Israeli-American who is jailed in Egypt and accused of spying for Israel.  But Panetta said he has not done anything personally nor is involved in any direct negotiations on the case.  News reports in Israel, where Mr. Panetta visited earlier this week, had speculated that he would work for Grapel's release during his visit.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid