Libya halts all military operations, accepts UN demands
London (Platts)--18Mar2011/1202 pm EDT/1602 GMT
The Libyan government will halt all military operations immediately and
accept the demands of a UN resolution Thursday which approved a no-fly zone
over the country, foreign minister Mussa Kussa said in Tripoli Friday.
"Libya has decided an immediate ceasefire and an immediate halt to all
military operations," Kussa told a press conference.
He said that, because Libya is a member of the United Nations, it is
"obliged to accept the UN Security Council's resolutions."
Kussa said Libya would also respect "all human rights" and seek dialog on
the future of the country, and invited international observers to carry out
"fact-finding" missions in the country.
"The Libyan state encourages the opening of all dialog channels with
everyone interested in the territorial unity of Libya," he said.
Kussa said, however, that provisions of the resolution such as the no-fly
zone, "which includes commercial and civilian flights [and] which will
increase the suffering of the Libyan nation and Libyan people and will have a
negative impact on the general life of Libyan people."
He said that the international community "should have exempted civilians
from the resolution to secure their quality of life," and that "the total and
inclusive freezing of all Libyan assets and investments will have a very
negative impact on normal Libyans and also will negatively impact [Libya's
ability] to fulfill its contracts and agreements locally and internationally."
It was also "very strange and unreasonable that the Security Council
allows in its resolution the use of military power, and there are signs that
this might indeed take place," Kussa said. "This goes clearly against the UN
charter, and it's a violation of the national sovereignty of Libya," he added.
The UN Security Council late Thursday approved a no-fly zone over Libya
against the forces of Moammar Qadhafi and voted to allow "all necessary
measures" to protect Libyan civilians.
The resolution, which also tightened sanctions on banks and companies
controlled by the regime, was passed by a vote of 10 in favor to none against,
with five abstentions--Brazil, China, Germany, India and Russia.
French government spokesman Francois Baroin, quoted by AFP, said earlier
Friday that the military action against Libya would come "rapidly...within a
British premier David Cameron told parliament that UK military aircraft,
including fighter jets and surveillance planes, would move to airbases "in the
coming hours" to prepare to enforce the no-fly zone.
Cameron said the government was satisfied that the legal basis for the
deployment of UK forces and assets had a "clear" and "unequivocal" legal basis
and that UN Security Council resolution 1973 both authorized and set the
limits of any action.
"Specifically, it excludes an occupation force of any form on any part of
Libyan territory, which was a clear agreement between all the sponsors of the
resolution, including the United Kingdom and, of course the Arab League," he
Cameron said he had spoken with the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the
United Arab Emirates and Jordan in recent days and that "a number of Arab
nations have made clear that they are willing to participate themselves in
enforcing the resolution."
He did not, however, say which Arab countries would participate.
Earlier Friday, AFP reported that Qatar would contribute to international
efforts to protect Libyan civilians.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, asked to comment on
Libya's ceasefire offer, said members of the 27-nation bloc were "looking at
the details," AFP reported.
"On the military side, the critical questions will be for the military
planners to work out what should be done. The issue of course is what's the
significance of the statement on the ceasefire and how that fits in," she
said, quoted by AFP.
--Margaret McQuaile, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Robert Perkins, email@example.com
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