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Africa

Security Council votes to end Libyan no-fly zone

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-10-27

The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday to end its mandate for a no-fly zone over Libya as of October 31. The mandate also legalised foreign troops to use "all necessary measures" to protect Libyan civilians.

AFP - The UN Security Council on Thursday unanimously voted to end the mandate for international military action in Libya, ending another chapter in the war against Moamer Kadhafi's regime.

NATO, which carried out the air strikes that played a key role in the downfall of Kadhafi, says it is studying new ways to help the National Transitional Council which had asked for an extension to the mandate.

A Security Council resolution ordered the end of the authorization for a no-fly zone and action to protect civilians from 11:59 pm Libyan time (2159 GMT) on October 31.

NATO's decision-making North Atlantic Council will now meet on Friday in Brussels to formally declare an end to the seven-month-old air war.

Security Council Resolution 2016 also eased an international arms embargo so that the NTC can acquire weapons and equipment for its national security.

It ended an assets freeze on the Libyan National Oil Corporation and virtually all restrictions on the central bank and other key institutions. It completely ended the ban on international flights by Libyan registered planes.

The Security Council remained divided on the Libya campaign right to the end however.

Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa had accused NATO of breaching the UN authorization resolutions with their air attacks.

The 15-member council voted resolutions in February and March authorizing "all necessary measures" to protect civilians and sanctions against the Kadhafi regime over its deadly assault on opposition protests.

France, Britain and the United States, which led the air strikes, remained defiant over their action.

"We are particularly proud of having been since the beginning on the side of the Libyan people," French envoy Gerard Araud told reporters after the vote.

US ambassador Susan Rice said "this closes what I think history will judge to be a proud chapter in the Security Council's experience." She insisted that the opponents knew what kind of military action was going to be conducted against Kadhafi.

Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin reaffirmed however that "numerous violations" of UN resolutions had been carried out in the campaign.

"We believe that serious lessons must be learned from the experience of Libya in order for the Security Council continued to perform its duties more effectively, to act together and coherently," he said.

Without mentioning the death of Kadhafi, the Security Council expressed "grave concern" over "reprisals, arbitrary detentions, wrongful imprisonment and extra-judicial executions in Libya."

It called for "respect for human rights and the rule of law" and for Libyan authorities "to refrain from reprisals."

The resolution also stressed the interim government's responsibility to protect foreign nationals and African migrants.

The NTC declared the formal "liberation" of Libya on October 23, three days after the killing of Kadhafi. But interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil on Wednesday urged NATO to extend its campaign until the end of the year because of the continuing threat from Kadhafi loyalists.

The interim government has expressed concern about the impact of sanctions on efforts to get the country's economy moving again.

As well as the national oil company, the Security Council lifted sanctions on Zuetina Oil Company.

The resolution lifted virtually all restrictions on the Central Bank of Libya, the Libyan Arab Foreign Bank, the Libyan Investment Authority, and the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio.

The remaining sanctions are the arms embargo and individual measures against surviving members of the Kadhafi family and associates of the late strongman.

NATO allies are in discussions amongst themselves and with the NTC about assisting the transitional council, diplomats said.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Wednesday that the NTC "may foresee a future role for NATO."

NATO is still conducting some air patrols over and around Libya, alliance officials said.

"We are continuing to monitor the situation and we are ready to act if necessary," a NATO official told AFP in Brussels.
 

Date created : 2011-10-27

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