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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs