British PM: Jets will be deployed 'imminently' to enforce Libya no-fly zone
Statement by British Prime Minister comes after France, Denmark, and Norway committed to join international task force against Gadhafi's military.
Britain will imminently start moving fighter jets to bases from where they can help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Friday.
Cameron's statement to Parliament came as France, Norway, and Denmark pledged their participation in an international military task force against forces loyal to Libyan Leader Muammar Gadhafi on Friday, hours after the United Nations Security Council voted to take direct action to end fighting between the Libyan army and rebel forces.
The UN Security Council, meeting in a emergency session on Thursday, passed a resolution endorsing a no-fly zone to halt government troops now around 100 km from Benghazi. It also authorized "all necessary measures" -- code for military action -- to protect civilians against Gadhafi's forces.
Speaking to parliament on Friday, the U.K. prime minister said that "Britain will deploy Tornadoes and Typhoons as well as air-to-air refueling and surveillance aircraft," Cameron told parliament on Friday.
Cameron, who said British forces would join the UN-sponsored operation if Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi failed to stop attacks on civilians, said the international community would soon set out what it expected from Gadhafi.
Cameron will also attend a summit in Paris on Saturday to discuss the situation with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Arab leaders.
"Britain will deploy Tornadoes and Typhoons as well as air-to-air refueling and surveillance aircraft," Cameron told parliament.
"Preparations to deploy these aircraft have already started and in the coming hours they will move to airbases from where they can start to take the necessary action."
The United Nations has authorized military attacks on Gadhafi's forces to protect civilians.
Cameron said it was right that the latest U.N. resolution excluded any invasion force on Libyan territory.
"This is not about an army of occupation," Cameron said.
French government spokesman Francois Baroin, speaking on Friday, indicated France would take part in military operations against Libya.
"The French, who led the calls [for action], will of course be consistent with military intervention," Baroin told French radio RTL. Asked to specify what that meant, he said "they will participate" in operations.
Qatar also indicated it may take part in the UN-sanctioned task force, with the emirate's news agency saying Qatar could "take part."
Also referring to the forming military alliance against Gadhafi forces, a Norwegian daily quoted Norway's defense minister as saying Oslo would also participate in the military action.
"We will contribute to the operation," Grete Faremo told the daily Verdens Gang. "But it is too early to say exactly in what way. Sending air capabilities would be natural."
Faremo said that sending fighter aircraft was one possibility, as well as humanitarian operations requiring air transport.
"Gadhafi has resources and is prepared to use them, also to assault civilians. His strength has primarily been built on [attacking from the] air, and therefore, it has been important for the UN to respond," Faremo told NRK.
"Now it is important to see how we can quickly help ease the situation for civilians," Faremo said.
In Copenhagen, Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen said the government was ready to act "speedily" in order to get approval from parliament for a Danish contribution of F-16 fighter jets, she told news agency Ritzau.
Like us on Facebook and get articles directly in your news feed