Libya: Nigeria votes in favour of no-fly resolution

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Noway says yes  to join military intervention in Libya

United Nations – The UN Security Council has endorsed a resolution authorising a no-fly zone over Libya, with the three African Union members of the Council, Nigeria, Gabon and South Africa, voting in its favour.

UN security council members vote on the resolution to impose a no-fly zone on Libya. Photograph: Monika Graff/Getty Images

Resolution 1973 (2011), passed late on Thursday with 10 votes and five abstentions by the 15-member Council, effectively authorised the use of force in Libya to protect civilians from attacks.

The two veto-wielding members of the Council — China and Russia — abstained from the vote along with Germany, Brazil and India.

However, the resolution sailed through since the Council needed only nine votes.

In passing the resolution, the Council expressed grave concern about the deteriorating situation, the escalation of violence and the heavy civilian casualties inflicted by forces loyal to Libya’s Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

Justifying Nigeria’s endorsement of the resolution, the country’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Joy Ogwu, said the magnitude of the humanitarian disaster in Libya compelled Nigeria to take such a stance.

Speaking after the vote, Ogwu said: “The current state of affairs leaves an indelible imprint on the conscience and moves us to act.

“The magnitude of this humanitarian disaster is, indeed, what compelled Nigeria to vote in favour of this resolution.

“Our persistent calls for peace are rooted in the need to ensure the safety, dignity and availability of humanitarian assistance for a population in need, many of whom are Nigerian nationals.

“The emphasis of the resolution on the protection of civilians under threat of attack and the provisions for humanitarian assistance do much to address these concerns.’’

Ogwu noted that the Arab League states and the African Union had spoken with one voice in condemning the situation in Libya since “the crisis is one of regional import’’.

She, however, cautioned that “as a member of the Security Council and a member of the African Union, Nigeria maintains that foreign occupation is not an option to secure peace in Libya’’.

The Council, in establishing a no-fly zone, banned all flights, except those for humanitarian purposes, in the Libyan airspace in order to help protect civilians.

It specifically called on Arab League states to cooperate with other UN member states in taking the necessary measures.

The Arab League last weekend requested the Council to impose a no-fly zone after Gaddafi was reported to have used warplanes, warships, tanks and artillery to seize back cities taken over by rebels.

The resolution further strengthened an arms embargo which the Council imposed last month when it unanimously approved sanctions against the Libyan authorities.

Last month’s resolution also froze the assets of associates of Gaddafi and his family, and referred the ongoing violent repression of civilian demonstrators to the International Criminal Court.

In Thursday’s resolution, the Council called on member states to ensure strict implementation of the embargo, including thorough inspection of suspicious ships on the high seas and of planes going to or from Libya.

It also deplored the flow into Libya of mercenaries whom Gaddafi had reportedly recruited.

Noway says yes to join military intervention in Libya
Norway said on Friday, it would join international military operations against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in Libya, possibly by sending fighter aircraft, after the UN Security Council authorised such action.

“We will contribute to the operation. But it is too early to say exactly in what way. Sending air capabilities will be natural,” Defence Minister Grete Faremo said.

Foreign Minister Jonas Stoere told state broadcaster NRK that NATO member Norway was prepared to send transport aircraft and F16 fighters to Libya.

The Security Council late on Thursday authorised a no-fly zone and military strikes to protect Libyan civilians and curb Gaddafi’s forces, hours after the Libyan leader threatened to storm the rebel bastion of Benghazi.

Faremo said Norway might contribute fighter aircraft or air transport for humanitarian operations.

“Gaddafi has resources and is prepared to use them, also to assault civilians. His strength has primarily been built on (attacking from the) air, and therefore, it has been important for the UN to respond.

“Now it is important to see how we can quickly help ease the situation for civilians,” Faremo told NRK. (Reuters/NAN)

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