Added by Nigel Shelbourne on March 19, 2011
The UN Security Council has passed a resolution that will make possible air strikes to fight Muammar Gaddafi’s offensive against Libyan rebel forces.
The resolution, which the 15-member council passed 10-0 with five abstentions, permits “all necessary measures” to protect civilian areas, to impose a ceasefire on the military and a no-fly zone, with the first bomb raids said to be possible within hours by a coalition led by France, Britain and the U.S should Gadaffi’s troops close in on Benghazi, the rebel stronghold.
The resolution does not, however, permit foreign ground troops.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said in an address to the Security Council that the world had to act in support of Libya. “In North Africa, the Persian Gulf, the Arab people are calling to breathe democracy.
In Libya, alas, for a number of weeks the people’s will has been shot down to its feet by Colonel Gaddafi.”
Juppe also highlighted the urgency of the situation: “We have very little time left. It is a matter of days. Perhaps it is a matter of hours.”
China and Russia, both permanent members of the council, were among those abstaining, but chose not to use their veto power.