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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.