UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council on Thursday approved a no-fly zone over Libya and authorized “all necessary measures” to protect civilians from attacks by Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.
The action came as the Libyan leader was poised to make a final push against rebels holding out in Bengazhi, Libya’s second largest city.
The vote in the 15-member council was 10-0 with five abstentions, including Russia and China.
The United States, France and Britain had pushed for speedy approval
Time to get the jets in the air.
Original post: The UN Security Council is preparing to vote on the Libya no-fly zone.
First come statements from various countries.
The French representative is speaking first, talking about a “new Arab spring.”
The United Nations security council is planning to vote on Thursday on a draft resolution that would not only introduce a no-fly zone over Libya but would authorise the use of air strikes to stop the advance of forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.
The draft, supported by the US, Britain, France and Germany, reflects a shift by Washington, which has become alarmed by the speed at which the uprising is collapsing and concerned at the possibility of a massacre in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.
The US until this week had been totally opposed to becoming involved militarily in Libya.
The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, told reporters on Wednesday night after a day of intensive negotiation: “We need to be prepared to contemplate steps that include, but perhaps go beyond, a no-fly zone at this point, as the situation on the ground has evolved, and as a no-fly zone has inherent limitations in terms of protection of civilians at immediate risk.”
Although a vote has been pencilled in for Thursday afternoon, schedules have a tendency to slip at the UN. Russia and China, which both have a veto on the the 15-member security council, could yet block it.
A UN resolution would pave the way for military action that could involve the US, and other members of Nato such as Britain and France, as well as Arab states. The US remains opposed to putting troops on the ground to create ‘safe havens’ and instead sees planes being used to stop tanks advancing towards Benghazi or ships loyal to Gaddafi bombarding the city.
- A no-fly zone for Libya: What would it take to ground Qaddafi’s jets? (slate.com)
- No-Fly Zones as Security Theater (cato-at-liberty.org)
- U.N.: “Any Means Necessary” on Libya (reason.com)