LONDON (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council voted on Thursday to authorize a no-fly zone over Libya and "all necessary measures" -- code for military action -- to protect civilians against leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces.
Below is a roundup of immediate reaction:
HERMAN VAN ROMPUY, EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT, AND CATHERINE
ASHTON, EU HIGH REPRESENTATIVE:
"We fully endorse the U.N. demand for a complete end to the violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians, and finding a solution to the crisis.
"We underline the important role of the Arab League and our Arab partners. Their cooperation is essential and their role is clearly recognized by the Resolution.
"The European Union is ready to implement this resolution within its mandate and competences."
U.S. SENATORS JOHN MCCAIN, JOHN KERRY AND JOE LIEBERMAN
"We applaud tonight's action by the U.N. Security Council authorizing 'all necessary measures' to impose a no-fly zone in Libya and protect civilians and civilian-populated areas under threat of attack.
"This was an important step on behalf of the people of Libya, but it will only be as effective as its implementation.
"With Gaddafi's forces moving toward Benghazi, we must immediately work with our friends in the Arab League and in NATO to enforce this resolution and turn the tide before it is too late."
JERZY BUZEK, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT:
"It was high time for the Security Council to decide. I am glad and relieved that the international community has finally taken concrete action to stop Gaddafi killing his own people. There is no more time to waste to implement the no-fly zone.
"I commend all the countries that promoted actively a firm reaction of the international community against the atrocities committed by Gaddafi and his mercenaries, within the U.N. Security Council and beyond. Now we have to follow up our words with action."
ANDREW EXUM, FELLOW, CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY, ON
"It really does seem like we are going to go to war with another country in the Arabic-speaking world. Incredible. I should be thankful for the broad international coalition we have put together, and for the fact that a large ground invasion is unlikely, but I mainly just have a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach."
FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER MALCOLM RIFKIND (TO BBC):
"I'm absolutely delighted. Without action of this kind, Benghazi would have been a bloodbath. By the standards of the last 20 years, this is a remarkable vote. This is a tremendous morale booster for Libyans, not just in Benghazi."
FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER DAVID OWEN:
"It's very late for this no-fly zone. Gaddafi's forces are very close to Benghazi and may now push on. This is now legal action (but) we know that Germany is against, it's a very serious division in the European Union, and it's also a very serious division in NATO."
SHADI HAMID, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AT THE BROOKINGS CENTER
DOHA, ON TWITTER:
"Still far from over. The beginning of what we hope will be the end. Military action will have to continue until Gaddafi is gone."
BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY WILLIAM HAGUE:
Hague said the U.N. resolution was necessary "to avoid greater bloodshed and to try to stop what is happening in terms of attacks on civilians."
"This places a responsibility on members of the United Nations and that is a responsibility to which the United Kingdom will now respond."
JOHN DRAKE, SENIOR RISK CONSULTANT, UK-BASED RISK
CONSULTANCY AKE "We don't think they have the capability to impose a no-fly zone over the whole country immediately, although they could try to impose one over Benghazi and maybe also Tripoli. The U.N. resolution will probably come as a morale boost to the defenders of Benghazi. Gaddafi's air strikes haven't been terribly militarily effective but they have been damaging morale. Gaddafi will still likely try to advance on Benghazi.
"In terms of retaliation, what could Gaddafi retaliate against? He probably won't want to retaliate against oil facilities or oil companies because he would be hurting himself. If there is military intervention, it may be difficult to evacuate those foreigners still in Tripoli who are mainly media.
"The longer any conflict goes on, the more difficult it will be. Foreign military action in a Muslim country is always going to be difficult. It's very difficult to predict what will happen next."
(Compiled by Karolina Tagaris)