News / Middle East

EU, NATO, UN Discuss Intervention in Libya

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen during the informal meeting of EU Defense Ministers in Godollo, Hungary,  February 25, 2011
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen during the informal meeting of EU Defense Ministers in Godollo, Hungary, February 25, 2011

United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay has called for international intervention in Libya to stop mass killings and bloodshed that she said may amount to crimes against humanity.  Her comments Friday came as European defense ministers met in Hungary, where NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen did not rule out enforcing a no-fly zone above Libya among other measures to end the violence. 

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters that the council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would discuss Friday what role the Western military alliance could play in Libya.

He said the emphasis for now is on humanitarian aid, but he did not rule out NATO's involvement in enforcing a no-fly zone for Libyan aircraft if mandated by the United Nations.

“We should give cooperation of evacuation of people in need and to humanitarian assistance," he said. "As regards the no-fly zone, it has not been discussed yet.  I would, however, say that such a far-reaching approach would require a very clear international legitimacy and in particular a United Nations mandate."  

There has been growing pressure on NATO to enforce a no-fly zone, amid reports that forces still loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi are using military planes to attack opponents of the regime.  

Rasmussen expressed anger about the reported role of security forces in the crackdown on often unarmed protesters.

"I strongly condemn the use of force.  It is absolutely outrageous that the Libyan regime apparently uses armed forces against its own people," he said.

Rasmussen spoke at a meeting of European defense ministers in Hungary, which is currently holding the rotating six-month presidency of the European Union.

His comments came after U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged international intervention.

Speaking in Geneva, she expressed concerns that thousands of people may have been killed or wounded in the mounting violence against anti-government protesters, many by shots to the head or chest.

“They have appealed to the United Nations and to the international community for protection.  We owe them our solidarity and protection from violence," she said. "We must heed their aspiration for freedom, dignity and responsible governance.  Far from being manipulated by external forces, their protest is a display of people's power, an exercise of direct democracy that deserves and commands international respect and support."   

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Aston said using military force was not discussed during the gathering in the Royal Palace of Godollo, a town near Budapest.

She said there is concern about the thousands of EU citizens still left in Libya and that EU member states are cooperating to evacuate them.  

Ashton said she has been in close contact with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about the situation.

"In Libya, we now watch," she said. "We have been very clear in our statements to Gadhafi to stop the violence.  And we are working closely with the U.N.  I spoke to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a few moments ago.  I mean, one of the reasons that this meeting is taking place is for defense ministers to be able to think about how they can best collaborate.  I don't think at this point there is any discussion on any sort of military action around Libya."

The Libyan situation also underscored plans by European defense ministers to increase military cooperation among NATO and EU member states at a time of global economic crisis.

Rasmussen said he is working on a plan involving the EU and NATO sharing resources to help each other in purchasing expensive military equipment at a time of economic austerity measures.  

As an example, the NATO chief mentioned the cooperation of several member states in stationing three C-17 cargo planes at a former Soviet military base in Hungary to aid NATO missions.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid