Under a draft plan being discussed by ambassadors in Brussels, Nato commanders would have been guided by a political committee featuring representatives from not just the West but also, crucially, the Arab world.
But the talks broke up after a third day of wrangling after a row between Turkey and France over the precise role Nato would play.
Turkey is keen for the Al
liance to have a more formal role and stated role in any coalition while France is eager on a looser coalition using Nato's military command structures.
“Frankly it's all about political ego,” said one source. Another Nato source said Turkey, a Muslim member of the Alliance with big business interests in Libya, wanted Western coalition countries to finish their air strikes before Nato took over command, so it was not blamed for any accidents.
Further talks to try and resolve out-standing differences are expected to continue today.
Last night government sources suggested other Arab countries were “close” to joining the coalition including Saudi Arabia, which is thought to be planning to contribute to operations financially. Kuwait and Jordan, David Cameron said yesterday, had agreed to provide “logistical support” to the operations.
“What we're still looking at is a Nato-plus command structure similar to the one we have with ISAF in Afghanistan,” said a Government source.
COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? email@example.com