BRUSSELS – NATO agreed Sunday to take command of military operations in Libya from a US-led coalition, a NATO official said Sunday.

"NATO has decided today to implement all aspects of the UN Resolution 1973 to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat of attack from the Kadhafi regime," a NATO official said on condition of anonymity.

Ambassadors from the 28-member alliance met from 1600 GMT to scrutinise military plans and rules of engagement set out after days of fraught talks to overcome objections from France and Turkey.

France was reluctant to see a transfer of command while Turkey opposed ground strikes.

Diplomats earlier told AFP that NATO military planners had strictly limited the use of force to the protection of civilians and populated areas.

The three-month plan does not call for NATO to intervene in support of the armed rebellion fighting Moamer Kadhafi's forces as the alliance will remain impartial in the conflict in Libya, said alliance diplomats who asked not to be identified.

"NATO will always remain impartial. NATO does not take sides. The goal is to stop any potential danger for the population, in line with the UN Security Council resolution," said one diplomat, who asked not to be identified.