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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office 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.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs