Defence minister, Pieter De Crem, said in a radio interview this morning that Belgium will not deploy any additional F-16 fighters in Libya.
A squadron of six planes is already committed and will be employed to attack targets on the ground, said De Crem. These comments run counter to Air chief, Claude Van De Voorde‘s, recent declaration that Belgium was ready, if necessary, to temporarily use additional fighters, but an official request had not made yet by the government who earler this week said it was opposed to arming rebels or engaging in a land war.
The Minister for Defense reaffirmed that no additional planes will be heading to libya in the near future. The six F-16 so far being deployed the Greek air base of Araxos, are being used to maintain the no-fly zone in Libyan air space and on additional missions to eliminate targets on the ground.
“We can, with these F-16s, carry out the additional missions we have been asked to do so by Nato”, said De Crem. The minister insists that the current Belgian effort is “consequence”.