TRAPANI, Italy, Sept. 1 (UPI) — NATO’s military role in Libya is far from finished, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told his country’s forces at an air base Thursday in Trapani, Italy.
Canada’s commitment to the NATO mission is scheduled to end Sept. 27, but Harper hinted the unrest that that apparently ousted Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi last week wouldn’t be wrapped up by then, Postmedia News reported.
“There is, I am afraid, as we have just been briefed, still fighting to be done,” Harper said.
Canadian Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard is in charge of the NATO mission while some 655 Canadian troops are manning seven CF-18 fighter jets, three refueling aircraft and a naval frigate.
Since the NATO mission began in March, Canadian pilots have flown 10 percent of the airstrikes and dropped 550 laser-guided bombs, the QMI Agency said.
Harper said other dictators should take note of the international response.
“Which gives some proof to the old saying: ‘A handful of soldiers is better than a mouthful of arguments,'” he said. “The Gadhafis of this world pay no attention to the force of argument. The only thing they get is the argument of force.”
The Conservative leader was scheduled to travel to Paris later Thursday to attend a conference on Libya organized by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron.