NATO could provide security advice and military training for Libya if the country’s new leaders ask for it, the US ambassador to the alliance said Monday.
“NATO is prepared, if requested by the new Libyan authorities, to consider ways in which it could help the Libyan authorities, particularly in the area of defense and security reform,” Ivo Daalder, US ambassador to NATO, told reporters.
“But that is really something for the medium to longer term,” he said.
The alliance had expertise in helping with defense reform, including training and “helping to set up a defense ministry,” he said.
For the moment, however, NATO had no immediate role after the end of its air campaign over Libya, Operation Unified Protector, he said.
“All forces that were used for this operation have now returned to national control,” he said.
The NATO-led bombing campaign, launched under UN mandate, ended on October 31 after the toppling of Moamer Kadhafi’s regime and his death last month.
Daalder also said Libya could bolster its ties with the transatlantic alliance by joining NATO’s “Mediterranean dialogue,” a partnership comprising Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, Jordan and Israel.
His comments came as President Barack Obama on Monday met NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, with White House officials touting the US approach to the Libya operation launched in March.