France confident of deal on U.N. Libya resolution

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 21, 2011 11:15 AM
France confident of deal on U.N. Libya resolution

PARIS (Reuters) - France believes it can secure backing for a draft U.N. Security Council resolution on a no-fly zone over Libya with more signs Arab countries would participate in military action, its foreign minister said on Wednesday.

"I have several reasons to think we will achieve our objective," Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told parliament.

"We will only act with a U.N. Security Council mandate and with not only the support, but the active participation of Arab countries," he added.

Juppe said the draft resolution widened sanctions on Libya and "opened the way to use all necessary ways to stop the Gaddafi offensive" against a rebel uprising that is trying to end 41 years of authoritarian rule.

Russia and Germany have expressed doubts over whether a no-fly zone is advisable or would work, and a Group of Eight foreign ministers meeting in Paris this week failed to get the agreement France was hoping for to support such an action.

Juppe, as part of his drive for full backing for a no-fly zone, wrote earlier on Wednesday in his blog that France had received assurances from several Arab countries that they were ready to take part in a military intervention.

"This condition is being fulfilled," he wrote, adding that it was not too late to take action.

"It is not enough to proclaim ... that Gaddafi must go. We have to provide the means to help those who have taken up arms against his dictatorship," he added.

"Only the threat of using force can stop Gaddafi. It's by bombing, with his few dozen planes and helicopters, the opposition positions that the Libyan dictator has switched the balance."

(Reporting By John Irish and Marc Angrand; Editing by Catherine Bremer and Tim Pearce)