Libya rebels should ask U.N. for no-fly zone: diplomat

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 22, 2011 10:00 AM
Libya rebels should ask U.N. for no-fly zone: diplomat

CAIRO (Reuters) - The United Nations may back a resolution to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya if an interim National Council formed by rebels in the country officially requests it, a Libyan diplomat told al Jazeera TV channel.

Deputy U.N. Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi, one of the first Libyan diplomats to denounce leader Muammar Gaddafi and defect, said the United Nations was bound "to be convinced" of the need for such a measure if it came from the council.

"What is needed at this time is that such decision be made officially and that we, in New York, are notified of it so that we make a formal request to the United Nations," he told the news channel.

"I personally think that, at this stage, the no-fly (resolution) is a very important step and any delay will help shed more Libyan blood," he added.

The rebel National Libyan Council in east Libya called on Wednesday for U.N.-backed air strikes on foreign mercenaries it said Gaddafi was using against civilians, a spokesman said.

"The presence of any foreign forces on Libyan soil is strongly opposed. There is a big difference between this and strategic air strikes," council spokesman Hafiz Ghoga said.

Senior U.S. officials in Washington stressed the diplomatic and military risks of imposing a "no-fly" zone over Libya to help rebels fighting Gaddafi's forces, saying such a move was not imminent.

(Reporting by Cairo newsroom, editing by Tim Pearce)