News / Africa

UN Security Council Approves No-Fly Zone Over Libya

Permanent representatives from the United Kingdom, Mark Lyall Grant, left, and the United States, Susan Rice, right, vote to approve a resolution that will impose a no-fly zone over Libya during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council at UN headq
Permanent representatives from the United Kingdom, Mark Lyall Grant, left, and the United States, Susan Rice, right, vote to approve a resolution that will impose a no-fly zone over Libya during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council at UN headq

The U.N. Security Council has authorized a No-Fly Zone over Libya, paving the way for possible air strikes. The council’s action comes on the heels of a warning from leader Moammar Gadhafi, who said Thursday he would have "no mercy" on rebels as his troops advance on their stronghold in the eastern city of Benghazi.

The vote was close. Ten council members voted in favor while five countries abstained - China, Russia, Germany, Brazil and India. There were no votes against. Only nine of the Security Council’s 15 members are required to vote in favor, with no vetoes, for a resolution to be adopted.

There were reports of fireworks and celebratory gunfire from Benghazi following the adoption of Resolution 1973.

The resolution calls for an immediate cease-fire and a complete end to the violence. It also authorizes States to take "all necessary measures" to enforce the ban on flights in order to protect civilians in areas under threat of attack, including Benghazi. Those measures are likely to include targeted air strikes on Libyan military defenses. But the resolution does not authorize any ground invasion, expressly excluding the possibility of a "foreign occupation force".

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe votes in favor of a Libyan resolution during a Security Council Meeting at U.N. headquarters in New York, March 17, 2011
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe votes in favor of a Libyan resolution during a Security Council Meeting at U.N. headquarters in New York, March 17, 2011

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, who came to New York for the vote, said his country, along with others - including Arab states, are ready to implement the No-Fly Zone. 

"We have very little time left. It is a matter of days. It is perhaps a matter of hours. Every day, every hour we see the closing of the clamp on the civilians and the population of Benghazi. Each day, each hour that passes raises the weight on our shoulders. We should not arrive too late. The Security Council should make sure that law and democracy continue and that democracy prevails," he said.

Related video report by Meredith Buel

In a televised speech ahead of the vote, Moammar Gadhafi warned that his forces would begin a counter-offensive to take back Benghazi. He offered amnesty to those who put down their weapons, but to those who do not he promised "no mercy or compassion."

Several council members cited his repeated belligerence against his people, his loss of legitimacy and the need to avoid more bloodshed in their support for the resolution, which they said is essentially humanitarian in its scope.

But there was also great reluctance in the council to authorize the use of force. Russia and China refrained from using their veto, but both expressed their doubts after the vote.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said a whole range of questions had not been adequately answered, including how the No-Fly Zone would be enforced, the rules of engagement and limits to the use of force.  While China’s envoy Li Baodong said Beijing is always against the use of force in international relations.

Germany also broke with its European colleagues on the council and abstained over concerns of being drawn into a protracted military conflict.

But the United States, which had also appeared reluctant to support a No-Fly Zone earlier in the week, put its full support behind the resolution. Ambassador Susan Rice welcomed its passage. "This resolution should send a strong message to Colonel Gadhafi and his regime that the violence must stop, the killing must stop and the people of Libya must be protected and have the opportunity to express themselves freely," she said.

On Saturday the Arab League requested the council authorize the No-Fly Zone and diplomats have said that Arab countries will participate in it. Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have all been floated as possibilities to join the United States, Britain and France.

Libya’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbashi, who was among the first to break with the regime, urged the international community to move immediately and do whatever is possible to protect vulnerable civilians in Libya.

In a statement, the U.N. Secretary-General, who is on his way to the region, welcomed the resolution. Ban Ki-moon said given the critical situation on the ground he expected "immediate action" on its provisions.

In addition to the call for the ban on flights, the resolution also expands and strengthens sanctions imposed by the council nearly three weeks ago in Resolution 1970. The additional measures include freezing the assets of more individuals and entities -- including the Libyan Central Bank and the National Oil Company, expanding a travel ban and tightening enforcement of the arms embargo.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More