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Friday, March 18, 2011

Canada deploys jets to Libya despite ceasefire

Montreal (ANTARA News/AFP) - Canada announced Friday it was deploying CF-18 fighter jets to help enforce a no-fly zone over Libya and said the deployment would go ahead despite the ceasefire declared by Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi.

"Since the crisis in Libya first began... working closely with our allies we have evacuated Canadian citizens, put in place tough sanctions and called on the Kadhafi regime to stop bloodshed and immediately step down," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

"Despite these actions, the situation in Libya remains intolerable.

And so, Canada in cooperation with its allies will "now take the urgent action necessary to support" a UN Security Council resolution for a no-fly zone in Libya, Harper said.

"The government has authorized the deployment of CF-18 fighters to join the (warship) HMCS Charlottetown in the region.

"If Colonel (Moamer) Kadhafi does not comply with this Security Council resolution, Canadian Armed Forces working with other like-minded nations will enforce this resolution."

Broadcaster CTV, citing government sources, earlier said Canada would contribute six CF-18 fighter jets to the effort. Harper did not confirm the figure in his televised address to the nation.

The Canadians jets are expected to fly alongside Americans, British and French aircraft and those from other countries.

Harper also commented: "We are encouraged by late-breaking news that in response to the threat of military action, the Libyan regime has declared a ceasefire.

"However for that threat to remain credible adequate military forces must be in place. Our deployment will therefore proceed."

The government will seek parliamentary approval before extending the mission beyond three months, Harper concluded.

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