Norway will scale down its fighter jet contribution in Libya from six to four planes and withdraw completely from the Nato-led operation by August 1, the government said today.

Defence Minister Grete Faremo said she expects understanding from Nato allies because Norway has a small air force and cannot "maintain a large fighter jet contribution during a long time".

The air force says Norwegian F-16 jets have carried out about 10 % of the Nato air strikes in Libya since March 31.

The parties in the centre-left coalition government had been at odds over whether to extend the Norwegian mission, which was scheduled to end on June 24.

The most leftist faction in the government, the Socialist Left Party, opposed an extension but a compromise was reached to stay in the operation until August 1 with fewer planes.

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