viernes, 18 de marzo de 2011

Libya 'to halt military action'

 
Watch: Libyan Foreign Minister Mussa Kussa announces an immediate ceasefire
Libya's government has declared an immediate ceasefire after a UN Security Council resolution backed "all necessary measures" short of occupation to protect civilians in the country.
Libyan Foreign Minister Mussa Kussa said the ceasefire was intended to protect civilians.
Western powers had been discussing how to enforce the UN resolution.
It was passed as troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi advanced on the rebel-held second city of Benghazi.
Before the announcement of the ceasefire, heavy fighting between pro-Gaddafi forces and rebels was reported to be continuing.
Rebels said government forces had also been bombarding the western city of Misrata, and there are unconfirmed claims that this has continued despite the ceasefire announcement.
UN Security Council Resolution 1973 gave broad backing to taking military action against all threats to civilians, which could include bombing Col Gaddafi's forces on the ground if necessary.

Ms Kussa said Libya, as a member of the UN, was "obliged to accept the UN Security Council's resolutions".
The passage of the Security Council resolution authorising the use of force in Libya marks an exceptional moment in the UN's recent history. Arab countries, key European actors and the United States all came together to back the resolution, and while there were misgivings in many quarters, Russia and China did not block its passage.
So is this a new dawn for the UN? In one sense the international community has been here before. Key Arab governments participated in the US-led military action to evict Iraqi forces from Kuwait. In dealing with a leader that is clearly seen to have overstepped the mark and who threatens regional peace, there can be consensus on military intervention.
Does Libya set a precedent for the future? Well maybe, but nobody is contemplating any kind of intervention to constrain the authorities in Bahrain, or anywhere else in the region for that matter. Except in exceptional circumstances the external pressure for reform will be political and diplomatic.
"Libya has decided an immediate ceasefire and an immediate halt to all military operations," he said.
The ceasefire announcement came only hours after Col Gaddafi had insisted that the Security Council had "no mandate" for such a resolution, "which we absolutely do not recognise".
"This is not a war between two countries that permits the council to intervene," he said in an interview on Portuguese television. The UN Charter "does not permit interference in domestic affairs", he added.
The Libyan military had previously warned that civilian and military activities in the Mediterranean would become "the target of a Libyan counter-attack" following any foreign operation.
'Actions not words' The announcement of a ceasefire was dismissed by a rebel commander in the eastern city of Benghazi, who accused Col Gaddafi of "bluffing".
Khalifa Heftir told reporters: "Gaddafi does not speak any truth... All the world knows that Muammar Gaddafi is a liar. He and his sons, and his family, and all those with him are liars."
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Libyan government would need to demonstrate it was implementing a ceasefire.
"We are going to be not responsive or impressed by words, we would have to see actions on the ground and that is not yet at all clear," she said.

Libya action contributors

  • France
  • UK
  • US
  • Qatar
  • Norway
  • Belgium
  • Denmark (subject to parliamentary vote)
  • Poland (logistical support)
"We will continue to work with our partners in the international community to press Gaddafi to leave and to support the legitimate aspirations of the Libyan people."
British Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain would judge Col Gaddafi "by his actions not his words" after Libya said it was declaring a ceasefire to comply with the resolution.
"What is absolutely clear is the UN Security Council resolution said he must stop what he is doing, brutalising his people. If not, all necessary measures can follow to make him stop," he told the BBC.
"That is what we agreed last night, that is what we are preparing for and we'll judge him by what he does."
Mr Cameron had earlier said Britain was preparing to move Tornado and Typhoon fighter-bomber aircraft to bases near Libya. The British and French, along with some Arab allies, are expected to play a leading role in any initial air strikes.
French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told Reuters TV: "We have to be very cautious. He (Gaddafi) is now starting to be afraid, but on the ground the threat has not changed."
'Strong message' The 15-member UN Security Council approved the resolution on Libya late on Thursday with 10 votes in favour, none against and five abstentions.
Russia and China - which often oppose the use of force against a sovereign country as they believe it sets a dangerous precedent - abstained rather than using their power of veto as permanent members.
The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said it sent a "strong message" to Col Gaddafi "that the violence must stop".
If there is opposition to the regime in Tripoli, it has been silenced, either by fear, or by the prevailing atmosphere of patriotism, reports the BBC's Allan Little from the capital.
There is dismay and anger at the UN decision, adds our correspondent, with many seeing the rebellion in the east not as a popular uprising against dictatorship but as a criminal enterprise supported by foreign powers and aimed at plundering Libya's oil.
Col Gaddafi has ruled Libya for more than 40 years. An uprising against him began last month after long-time leaders of neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt were toppled.