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NATO postpones formal decision to conclude Libya mission due to consultations with UN, Libya
BRUSSELS (AP) ' NATO has postponed a definite decision to end its bombing campaign in Libya as consultations continued Wednesday with the U.N. and the country's interim government over how and when to wind down the operation.
Last week, the alliance announced preliminary plans to phase out its mission on Oct. 31. NATO's governing body ' the North Atlantic Council, or NAC ' was expected to formalize that decision Wednesday.
Air patrols have continued in the meantime because some alliance members were concerned that a quick end to NATO's seven-month operation could result in a resurgence in violence.
On Wednesday, spokeswoman Carmen Romero said NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was conducting consultations with the United Nations and Libya's National Transition Council.
"The NAC will meet with partners on Friday to discuss our Libya mission and take a formal decision," she said, adding that there was an "ongoing process" in the U.N. Security Council.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday that some of Libya's leaders had called for NATO to continue its mission "during this interim as they try to establish some new governance."