BRUSSELS - The head of NATO said Wednesday that the alliance had the "necessary assets" to continue its military campaign in Libya "as long as it takes."
"We have the necessary assets available for continuing our operation and all 28 allies have just agreed to extend our operation beyond the current 90 days mandate. And they are also ready to provide necessary assets," Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at the news conference following NATO defense ministers' meeting on Libya.
"I have also encouraged other allies to broaden the support for our operation. That is about sustainability. The broader the support, the stronger the sustainability," Rasmussen said.
"All ministers agreed that we will keep up the pressure for as long as it takes to bring this crisis to an early conclusion," he said.
In addition, Rasmussen excluded the possibility of putting boots on the ground, saying "I don't foresee NATO ground forces on the ground."
The NATO chief believed that the departure of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was "just a matter of time" while the international community should be prepared for it.
"We agreed that the time has come to plan for the day after the conflict. Gaddafi is history. It is no longer a question of if he goes, but when he goes. It may take weeks, but it could happen tomorrow," he said.
In a statement adopted at the meeting, NATO defense ministers said that "the right combination of military, political, and economic pressure will help bring an end to attacks on civilians and set the conditions for the Libyan people to determine their own future."
Fourteen countries of the 28-member alliance have contributed forces to the Libya operation, while only eight have agreed to launch air raids, with Britain and France carrying the bulk of the airstrikes.
Britain, the United States and France, have launched airstrikes against Gaddafi's forces since March 19 after the UN Security Council passed a resolution to impose a no-fly zone over Libya and authorize "all necessary measures" to protect civilians in Libya.
NATO took over full command of military operations against Libya from the United States on March 31. (Xinhua)