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UN Security Council Discusses Possible Libya Sanctions

  • Margaret Besheer

The United Nations Security Council (file photo)

The United Nations Security Council (file photo)

The U.N. Security Council is holding a rare Saturday session to discuss imposing possible sanctions against the government of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in a bid to end his bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters.

The 15-member council is behind closed doors discussing measures that could include a comprehensive arms embargo, travel bans and asset freezes against Colonel Gadhafi and his regime.

The draft text also lays the groundwork for referring the situation in Libya to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, who would investigate whether possible war crimes or crimes against humanity have taken place during the uprising.

Diplomats said there is generally a commonality of views on what should be in the final resolution, but the language about the ICC could be a potential sticking point and might have to be refined.

Political experts from the 15 member countries met early Saturday morning to revise the draft text, which was written by Britain, France, Germany and the United States. Ambassadors then began discussion of the edited text around mid-day.

As he arrived at the meeting, Germany’s U.N. Ambassador Peter Wittig told reporters that he believes the full council is in agreement that they want "swift and quick action" on the matter.

"I think we owe that to the Libyan people. We have heard the call yesterday of the Ambassador. I think it is important that this council decides strong and clear measures according to Chapter 7. And I think for us [Germany], it is important to stop the violence and see to it that there is accountability for the perpetrators who have committed those incredible human rights violations," he said.

Under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, the Security Council has the authority to take military and non-military action to restore international peace and security.

During an emergency meeting of the council on Friday, Libyan Ambassador Abd al-rahman Shalgham made an emotional and impassioned plea to the council to adopt a strong resolution to end the bloodshed and "save Libya."