Nato answers Libya questions

File photo of a British plane involved in the Nato operation in Libya, June 2011 Nato forces have been carrying out air strikes over Libya for months

In recent days, Nato has intensified its attacks on targets in the Libya capital, Tripoli. Some believe Nato is overstepping the terms of its mandate - which is to protect civilians in Libya - and is intervening directly in the conflict on the side of the opposition forces. The BBC's Matthew Price questions a Nato spokesman about those claims.

Are there still sites of strategic value in Tripoli?

All Nato strikes are carried out against legitimate military targets, in full compliance with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions 1973 and 1970 and with great care to avoid unnecessary casualties to innocent civilians.

We are unable to discuss the strategic advantages for striking targets and their locations.

Does Nato carry out air strikes in order not just to directly protect civilians, but also to demoralise Gaddafi forces and thus to protect civilians?

All the targets that we select are clearly identified as having a direct link with attacks on civilians. Nato's mission is to protect civilians and implement UN Security Council Resolution 1973 and we choose our targets with that goal in mind.

So all Nato strikes are carried out against legitimate military targets, in full compliance with the relevant UNSC resolutions and with great care to avoid unnecessary casualties to innocent civilians.

The Nato mandate is to protect civilians. Have there been instances where rebel forces have put civilian lives at risk, and where Nato had to intervene?

Our mission is to protect civilians in Libya, as the United Nations Security Council mandates.

So far, the opposition forces have shown every indication that they are committed to the protection of civilians and respect for human rights.

We expect this commitment to continue.

Since the start of the operation, Nato has not targeted the military forces of the opposition.

In such a scenario, would Nato intervene?

We do not comment on hypothetical scenarios, nor on operational and planning issues.

Does Nato believe its strikes against pro-Gaddafi forces have helped the rebel advance?

Nato's mission is to prevent attacks and threats against civilians.

Some strikes against pro-Gaddafi forces which were threatening civilians have also made it easier for opposition forces to advance on the ground. But Nato is not the opposition's air force.

We are tracking the fighting between pro- and anti-Gaddafi forces but we are not involved in the ground battle.

Our targets are those forces and installations which present a threat to the civilian population. We are on the side of the Libyan people.

Does Nato have advisers working on the ground with the rebels helping them with their tactics and strategy?

Nato has no troops on the ground in Libya.

Are there non-Nato advisers on the ground working with the rebels who are able if needed to feed information to Nato?

Nato has no direct contact with the military forces of the opposition.

Several Allies have representatives in Libya and, together with other sources, provide us with a real picture to enable us to protect the civilians in an effective and safe manner.

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