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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

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