Tags: US | Libya | Gates

Gates: US Expects to Hand off Libya Lead in 'days'

Sunday, 20 Mar 2011 06:21 PM

ON BOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the Pentagon expects to turn control of the Libya military mission over to a coalition — led either by the French and British or by NATO — "in a matter of days."

In his first public remarks since the start of the bombings, Gates says President Barack Obama feels very strongly about limiting America's role in the operation against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, adding that the president is "more aware than almost anybody of the stress on the military."

While the U.S. "will have a military role in the coalition," Gates says, it "will not have the preeminent role."

Gates' comments came as American ships and aircraft continued to pound Libya, taking out radar, communications and missile sites along its Mediterranean coast.

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