France sees U.N. resolution on Libya, rapid action

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 22, 2011 12:27 PM
France sees U.N. resolution on Libya, rapid action

PARIS (Reuters) - France believes there is enough support at the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution on Libya on Thursday and military intervention could take place within hours of that, a senior French diplomatic source said.

Any action could include France, Britain, possibly the United States and one or more Arab states, the source said.

"It would be surprising if there was a veto from one of the permanent members. We are convinced we have the nine votes," the source told reporters. "Once the resolution is voted, an operation could start within several hours."

He also said Paris wanted to host a three-way meeting on Libya in the next few days with high-level representatives from the European Union, the African Union and the Arab League.

Foreign Minister Alain Juppe flew to the U.N. headquarters in New York on Thursday to push for the adoption of a draft Security Council resolution aimed at halting Muammar Gaddafi's troops' advance toward a rebel stronghold in eastern Libya.

France worked last week to persuade its Group of Eight partners to back a no-fly zone over Libya and Juppe said this week it was now urgent to take action.

The foreign ministry said on Thursday that France would not intervene in Libya without a U.N. mandate and the support and participation of Arab countries.

(Reporting by John Irish and Emmanuel Jarry; Writing by Catherine Bremer, editing by Tim Pearce)