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Gerard Longuet, French Defense Minister, Sees No Need To Extend NATO's Libya Mission

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GERARD LONGUET NATO LIBYA
France's Defence Minister Gerard Longuet is seen during press conference as part of a bilateral partnership with Brazil on October 18, 2011 in Paris. | Getty
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PARIS -- France's defense minister says he doesn't see a need to extend NATO's mission in Libya, now that Moammar Gadhafi is dead and a new government is in charge.

Gerard Longuet says that the international community should still help the new Libyan leadership but with a new mandate, focusing on political instead of military support.

NATO last week announced preliminary plans to wind down the bombing campaign Oct. 31, but then on Wednesday unexpectedly postponed a definitive decision amid continuing consultations with the U.N. and the country's interim government.

Longuet said on France-Info radio Thursday, "I don't exactly understand the need" to keep the operation going. He said the mission is continuing surveillance but is already "being dismantled rather quickly."

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