How UNSC ends Libya no-fly authorization

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The UN Security Council's repeal on Thursday of the Libyan no-fly zone resolution comes none too soon for some nations, but too soon for the interim Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) government.

Authorization for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)- led enforcement of the council's March 17 no-fly Resolution 1973 ends on the last minute of Monday, Oct. 31, Libyan local time, the panel of 15 unanimously voted.

Resolution 1973 authorizing use of force in Libya was approved 10-0 with five abstentions. Some of the abstainers became opponents of NATO's actions.

Thursday's resolution welcomed "the positive developments in Libya which will improve the prospects for a democratic, peaceful and prosperous future there."

But it comes only a week to the day after the killing of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and just four days after Sunday's NTC declaration of liberation of the people of Libya from his regime.

The council acknowledged liberation brought the North African nation into a new stage with a new interim government.

While the declaration officially brought to an end a conflict between the Gaddafi regime and Libyan rebels that began in February and involved NATO participation on the side of the rebels since March 31, there are still some fears of possible fanatic attacks by die-hard Gaddafi regime supporters and mounting concern over missing weaponry that could finds ways into the hands of extremists.

The armaments could take down aircraft, including commercial airliners.

But the sole opposition voice heard at the UN Thursday appeared to be the voice of Libya itself.

Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's deputy permanent representative to the UN, told the Council on Wednesday that while the Libyan people are opposed to any foreign presence and look forward to the end of the no-fly zone, the security situation may not be stable enough at the moment.

Dabbashi, an early defector from the Gaddafi regime, pointed out the national armed forces had not yet been reactivated. He also expressed fears the nation could not secure its borders.

"We wish to inform you not to be hasty in adopting a resolution and we will inform you of an official decision of NTC which we hope will be prior to the end of this month," Dabbashi said.

He added Libya looked forward to becoming a nation that respects human rights, preserves fundamental freedoms of its citizens and seeks normal relations with the global community.

That is a big question now for the NTC, in the face of the depicted grizzly death of Gaddafi in the apparent hands of his captors.

The new government has promised an investigation in how he met his fate. He is the only deposed leader since the so-called Arab Spring began to meet such a fate.

Dabbashi said the NTC does not condone such activity.

After the initial Resolution 1973 was approved 10-0 with the abstention of the four developing BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China, plus Germany, there was criticism from some of them about how NATO was conducting its no-fly campaign.

But supporters of the measure were quick to point out the resolution "authorizes member states .. to take all necessary measures" to enforce the no-fly zone and an arms embargo against the Libyan government.

"All necessary measures" is the usual phrase employed in Security Council resolutions to authorize the use of military force.

Some Council members expressed fears NATO was not strict in equitably interpreting the mandate and instead was acting in apparent support of the rebels by attacking government forces. Russia was among the critics.

After Thursday's vote, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, permanent representative of Russia to the UN, explained the process of drafting Resolution 2016, sponsored by Britain and Russia. He was among the first to call for an end to the NATO strikes.

"We worked productively and well with the delegation of the United Kingdom in filling out that resolution," he said. "The UK delegation added some elements to our resolution, we added some elements to their elements."

Churkin called the new resolution "very important," as it underlines the dramatic happenings in Libya in recent months.

"We expect the NATO council to act in accordance with this decision of the Security Council of the United Nations and to suspend its operation at midnight of Oct. 31," he said. "So we hope that indeed a new chapter is being opened in Libya and the Libyan people will be able to take advantage of the situation to build the new Libya they desire."

NANTO announced Saturday it was ending its Libya campaign Oct. 31.

China and Russia have long opposed intervention in the domestic affairs of nations and their abstention in the vote on Resolution 1973 was regarded as unusual.

The two nations, among the five veto-wielding permanent members of the council, jointly vetoed an Oct. 5 draft resolution threatening sanctions against Syria's government for deadly force used against demonstrators.


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