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U.N.Security Council approves "No-Fly Zone" over Libya

18. March 2011. | 08:20

Source: Emg.rs

Demanding an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians, which it said might constitute “crimes against humanity”, the Security Council this evening imposed a ban on all flights in the country’s airspace — a no-fly zone — and tightened sanctions on the Qadhafi regime and its supporters.

Demanding an immediate ceasefire in Libya, including an end to the current attacks against civilians, which it said might constitute “crimes against humanity”, the Security Council this evening imposed a ban on all flights in the country’s airspace — a no-fly zone — and tightened sanctions on the Qadhafi regime and its supporters.

Adopting resolution 1973 (2011) by a vote of 10 in favour to none against, with 5 abstentions (Brazil, China, Germany, India, Russian Federation), the Council authorized Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under threat of attack in the country, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory — requesting them to immediately inform the Secretary-General of such measures.

Recognizing the important role of the League of Arab States in the maintenance of international peace and security in the region, and bearing in mind the United Nations Charter’s Chapter VIII, the Council asked the League’s member States to cooperate with other Member States in implementing the no-fly zone.

The Council stressed the need to intensify efforts to find a solution to the crisis that responded to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people, noting actions being taken on the diplomatic front in that regard. It further demanded that Libyan authorities comply with their obligations under international law and take all measures to protect civilians and meet their basic needs and to ensure the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance.

In that connection, the Council specified that the flight ban would not apply to flights that had as their sole purpose humanitarian aid, the evacuation of foreign nationals, enforcing the ban or other purposes “deemed necessary for the benefit of the Libyan people”.

It further decided that all States should deny permission to any Libyan commercial aircraft to land in or take off from their territory unless a particular flight had been approved in advance by the committee that was established to monitor sanctions imposed by resolution 1970 (2011).

In tightening the asset freeze and arms embargo established by that resolution, the Council this evening further detailed conditions for inspections of transport suspected to be violating the embargo, requesting States enforcing the embargo to coordinate closely with each other and the Secretary-General on the measures they were taking towards implementation.

It requested the Secretary-Secretary to create an eight-member panel of experts to assist the Security Council committee in monitoring the sanctions.

Introducing the resolution, the Foreign Minister of France, Alain Juppé, said “the situation on the ground is more alarming than ever, marked by the violent re-conquest of cities that have been released”. The Security Council could not stand by and “let the warmongers flout international legality”. The world was experiencing “a wave of great revolutions that would change the course of history”, but the will of the Libyan people had been “trampled under the feet of the Qadhafi regime”. Earlier Council measures had been ignored and violence against Libyan civilians had redoubled.

He said that the urgent need to protect the civilian population had led to the elaboration of the current resolution, which authorized the Arab League and those Member States wishing to do so to take all measures to protect areas that were being threatened by the Qadhafi regime. “We have very little time left — perhaps only a matter of hours,” he said, adding that each hour and day that passed “increased the weight” on the international community’s shoulders.

Speaking after the vote, representatives who had supported the text agreed that the strong action was made necessary because the Qadhafi regime had not heeded the first actions of the Council and was on the verge of even greater violence against civilians as it closed in on areas previously dominated by opposition in the east of the country. They stressed that the objective was solely to protect civilians from further harm.

Lebanon’s speaker stressed that the text would not result in the occupation of “one inch” of Libyan territory by foreign forces. The representative of the United Kingdom pledged that partners in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Arab League were now ready to act to support the text.

The representative of the United States said that today, the Council had responded to the Libyan peoples’ cry for help. The Council’s purpose was clear: to protect Libyan civilians. The Security Council had authorized the use of force, including enforcement of a no-fly zone, to protect civilians and civilian areas targeted by Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi, his allied forces and mercenaries.

The representatives of China and the Russian Federation, explaining their abstentions, prioritized peaceful means of resolving the conflict and said that many questions had not been answered in regard to provisions of the resolution, including, as the Russian representative put it, how and by whom the measures would be enforced and what the limits of the engagement would be. He said the resolution included a sorely needed ceasefire, which he had called for earlier. China had not blocked the action with a negative vote in consideration of the wishes of the Arab League and the African Union, its representative said.

The delegations of India, Germany and Brazil, having also abstained, equally stressed the need for peaceful resolution of the conflict and warned against unintended consequences of armed intervention.

Statements were also made made by the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Portugal, Nigeria and South Africa.


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