World needs to "speak with one voice" about Libya

crisis in Libya

crisis in Libya

Air strikes by countries including the US, UK and France are continuing in Libya, following the implementation of a United Nations resolution. The resolution, which was passed last Thursday, provides for a 'no-fly’ zone over Libya to prevent air power being used against civilians.  Julie Walker joins Daniel Dickinson in the studio for an update on the current situation.

DD: Julie, what’s been happening over the last couple of days?

JW: Well, Daniel the air strikes mounted by western nations against military installations in Libya have been continuing. Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General is keeping up diplomatic pressure. Ban Ki-moon spent the weekend in Europe and Egypt meeting world leaders to discuss the military action against Libyan leader, Muammar al-Qadhafi and his regime.   That action against Qadhafi was taken because of the Libyan leader’s attempt to stamp out a popular uprising using military force.

On Monday, Mr Ban met Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab league in Cairo. In a statement following that meeting Ban said that it was imperative that the international community continues to speak with one voice in order to make sure that the Security Council resolution is, in his words, “fully implemented”.
He also said that thousands of lives are at stake and that a humanitarian emergency is developing.

DD: Can you remind us what the resolution passed by the UN Security Council says:


JW: Resolution 1973 passed last Thursday, after quite a bit of negotiations by Security Council members, called on Muammar al-Qadhafi to implement an immediate ceasefire. It imposed a no-fly zone to prevent the Libyan leader from using air power against his own Libyan people. The initial reaction to the resolution from authorities there was conciliatory…saying it would respect the ceasefire.

But despite that promise to stop attacks against pro-democracy rebels, the ceasefire did not hold.

At a press conference in Cairo, Mr Ban was asked about possible civilian deaths as a result of the air strikes by western powers. The head of the United Nations Information Centre in Cairo, Khawla Mattar was at that press conference.

Khawla cut:  “There is no way that the UN will approve of any attacks on civilians.  The idea is just to impose the no-fly zone.”

JW:  It should be added that the resolution rules out a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory which means no troops on the ground.  It also imposes a range of additional measures including significant action to tighten the arms embargo and to deny the regime access to funds.  The resolution was adopted with 10 votes in favour and five abstentions. Those were from Brazil, China, Germany, India, and Russia.

DD: What happens next Julie?

JW: Well the Secretary-General is on his way to Tunisia for more meetings…he’s reiterating his call on the Libyan authorities to fully comply with the Security Council resolution…..starting with an immediate cessation of hostilities against civilians.  He’s also warned of a deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country as civilians continue to flee Libya.  According to the UN refugee Agency, at least 325,000 people have left the country….another 9,000 are stranded at various border posts.

DD:  Julie, thanks a lot.


Duration:  2’57″




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