U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States has agreed with its NATO allies to hand the alliance control of the no-fly zone over Libya.
Clinton Thursday said all 28 NATO members also agreed to formulate a plan to protect Libyan civilians and support humanitarian aid efforts.
She spoke after NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance agreed Thursday to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya, set up under U.N. authorization to protect civilians.
Clinton also announced she will attend a conference in London next week to discuss coalition action in Libya.
At the Pentagon Thursday, a top U.S. military officer said U.S. air combat operations will continue in Libya after the change in command. Vice Admiral Bill Gortney said U.S. forces will carry out airstrikes and support coalition forces with refueling flights, among other noncombat efforts.
Gortney also said the coalition now enforcing the no-fly zone is urging forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to cease fire or risk more attacks from allied war planes. He said the coalition is using every tool available to communicate with Libyan forces to urge them to stop killing civilians.
The admiral said the coalition will continue to strike at Mr. Gadhafi's forces if its demands are not met.
In her remarks Thursday, Secretary Clinton also praised Qatar and the United Arab Emirates for sending planes to help the mission in Libya.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.