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90MPH
18th March 2011, 03:43
The UN Security Council has backed a no-fly zone over Libya and "all necessary measures" short of an invasion "to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas".

The UK, France and Lebanon proposed the council resolution, with US support.

Meeting in New York, the 15-member body voted 10-0 in favour, with five abstentions.

Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi's forces have recently retaken several towns seized by rebels in an uprising.

Loyalist forces are threatening the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, home to a million people.

Earlier reports suggested that if the resolution were passed, air attacks on Col Gaddafi's forces by the British and French air forces could begin within hours.

It is not thought that the US would be involved in the first strikes, but the British and French are likely to get logistical backup from Arab allies.

Russia and China - which often oppose the use of force against a sovereign country as they believe it sets a dangerous precedent - abstained rather than using their power of veto as permanent members. Germany also abstained.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, introducing the resolution, said: "In Libya, for a number of weeks the people's will has been shot down... by Colonel Gaddafi who is attacking his own people.

"We cannot let these warmongers do this, we cannot abandon civilians."

He added: "We should not arrive too late."

The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said after the vote: "Today's resolution is a powerful response... to the urgent needs on the ground."

British ambassador to the UN, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, said: "The international community has come together in deploring the actions of the Gaddafi regime and demanding that the regime end this violence against the Libyan people." He said the UK was "ready to shoulder our responsibility".

Earlier on Thursday, addressing the people of Benghazi, the rebels' main stronghold, Col Gaddafi said his troops were coming "tonight" and there would be "no mercy".

He told rebels to go home, adding that "whoever lays down his weapons" would be pardoned.

Rebel leaders replied by saying their forces would stand firm and not be deterred by Col Gaddafi's threats.

Late on Thursday, anti-aircraft fire and explosions were heard in Benghazi.

'Amnesty'

The Libyan military has warned that any foreign operations against Libya will expose all maritime and air navigation in the Mediterranean Sea to danger, state TV reports.

"All civilian and military activities will be the target of a Libyan counter-attack. The Mediterranean Sea will be in serious danger not only in the short term but also in the long term," a screen caption said.

In other developments:

Forces loyal to Col Gaddafi reportedly launched their first air attacks on Benghazi, targeting the airport at Benina

Col Gaddafi's forces attacked the rebel-held town of Ajdabiya, a key objective before launching a ground assault on Benghazi, but rebels deployed tanks, artillery and a helicopter to repel the assault

Libyan state television reported that the city of Misrata was almost entirely under government control, but rebels and residents in the city denied this

Official Libyan news agency Jana reported that government forces would cease military operations from midnight on Sunday to give rebels the opportunity to hand over their weapons and "benefit from the decision on general amnesty"

Following the toppling of the long-time leaders of neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year, Libyan protesters started to demand that Col Gaddafi step down after 42 years of autocratic rule. They quickly seized much of eastern Libya.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12781009

Jadz
18th March 2011, 04:08
Thankyou for posting this article. I saw something about this on the news channels earlier today.

What ever happens over the coming days - and I see only dark days ahead for the entire region - is the direct responsibility of the corrupt and hypocritical Arab govts. Their obsession with power, status and wealth has transformed their compatriots into revolutionaries.

Free Hit
18th March 2011, 04:09
and now it will spread in the whole arab world. peoples eyes are open