U.N. Libya draft calls for all necessary measures: UK

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 21, 2011 11:26 AM
U.N. Libya draft calls for all necessary measures: UK

LONDON (Reuters) - The latest draft resolution on Libya under discussion at the United Nations calls for "all necessary measures short of an occupation force" to protect civilians under threat of attack, Britain said on Thursday.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said the latest draft of the resolution to be discussed at the U.N. Security Council in New York on Thursday followed extensive consultations with Lebanon, France, the United States and others.

He said there was no longer anything holding the United States back from supporting a no-fly zone over Libya, where leader Muammar Gaddafi's troops are advancing on rebels.

"The (draft U.N. Security Council) resolution that is under discussion today includes demands for an immediate ceasefire, a complete end to violence, a ban on all flights in Libyan air space with the exception of humanitarian flights.

"It would authorize all necessary measures to enforce compliance with this ban," Hague told Britain's parliament.

"It calls for all necessary measures short of an occupation force to protect civilians under threat of attack, including in Benghazi," said Hague, referring to the rebels' stronghold.

The draft resolution includes measures to deny Libyan planes permission to take off, land or overfly the territory of U.N. member states, said Hague, who said he had spoken to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday evening.

The draft also included a variety of measures to enforce the arms embargo on Libya and to tighten the asset freeze and travel ban on members of Gaddafi's government, he said.

Washington, which initially reacted cautiously to calls from the Arab League and permanent Security Council members Britain and France for a no-fly zone over Libya, gave its clearest signal on Wednesday it would back the plan.

"There is nothing now holding them back," Hague said when asked what was preventing President Barack Obama's administration from supporting a no-fly zone over Libya.

"In fact, yesterday the United States proposed a strengthening of the resolution which the UK and France and Lebanon were putting forward together at the Security Council," he said.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Keith Weir)