Military intervention impends despite Libya's ceasefire

16:18, March 19, 2011      

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Some world powers are preparing to militarily impose a UN-backed no-fly zone over Libya despite Tripoli's ceasefire declaration.

An international summit is to take place in Paris on Saturday, grouping UN chief Ban Ki-moon, leaders or high-level decision-makers of some Western and Arab countries and representatives of the European Union, the Arab League and the African Union.

At the conference, to be hosted by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, a leading advocate of military intervention, attendants are expected to discuss detailed plans to enforce Thursday's UN Security Council resolution on the Libya situation.

The resolution "demands the immediate establishment of a ceasefire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of, civilians," and authorizes the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya.

Meanwhile, NATO ambassadors are expected to meet over the weekend to fix details about the alliance's participation after they reached consensus Friday on supporting the no-fly zone measure.

NATO Secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Friday that preconditions for taking military operations against Libya had been fulfilled and that the alliance was completing its plans.

Should NATO fail to move collectively, participating countries and organizations in the Paris meeting are expected to form some kind of coalition and launch operations on their own.


As those world players gear up for the no-fly zone measure, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi lashed out at the UN resolution, dubbing it "blatant colonialism."

"It does not have any justification. This will have serious consequences on the Mediterranean and on Europe," al Jazeera TV on Saturday quoted him as saying.

The repudiation came after Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim reaffirmed Friday that the Libyan government had halted all military operations and would honor the cease-fire it declared earlier in the day.

Yet Libya's announcements failed to convince potential intervenors, which accused Libyan government troops of bombarding the rebel-held western city of Misurata and advancing towards th eastern city of Benghazi, the stronghold of the rebels, after the cease-fire declaration.

"We are going to be not responsive or impressed by words. We would have to see actions on the ground," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is expected to attend the Paris meeting.

"We will continue to work with our partners and the international community to press Gaddafi to leave," she said.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out the possibility of deploying American ground troops in the Northern African country, and stressed that his administration is "not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal, specifically the protection of civilians in Libya."

As foreign military intervention looms, more and more Libyans are fleeing their country. UN observers said Friday that they had recorded an increase in the number of Libyans entering Egypt in the past few days.

"The events in the coming days will be critical in determining whether mass displacement from the eastern part of Libya takes place," said Melissa Fleming, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at a news conference in Geneva.

The refugee agency said that it was ready to work with the Egyptian government to handle a massive influx of people fleeing the violence in Libya.

Source: Xinhua
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