U.K., France draft resolution to impose no-fly zone over Libya
No decision on introducing to U.N. Security Council; U.S. considers arming rebelshttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41952726/ns/world_news-mideastn_africa/
UNITED NATIONS — Britain and France are drafting a U.N. resolution that would establish a no-fly zone over Libya.
A British diplomat at the U.N. stressed Monday that the resolution is being prepared as a contingency in case it is needed, but no decision has been made to introduce it at the U.N. Security
Libya's U.N. ambassador and his deputy have urged the council to impose a no-fly zone to prevent Moammar Gadhafi's forces from bombing civilians. Rebel fighters have also urged establishment of a no-fly zone, saying they can take on Gadhafi's elite ground forces, but are outgunned if he uses his air power.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague told the House of Commons Monday that "
"At the U.N. Security Council, we are working closely with partners on a contingency basis on elements of a resolution on a no-fly zone, making clear the need for regional support, a clear trigger for such a resolution and an appropriate legal basis," Hague said.
A senior U.S. officials said that NATO has decided to boost flights of surveillance planes over Libya as the alliance debates the utility of imposing the no-fly zone.
U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder said allies agreed on Monday to increase AWACs flights from 10 to 24 hours a day. The expansion is part of contingency planning for possible military intervention in Libya beyond humanitarian efforts.
The decision came as the alliance's governing board met to discuss what unique capabilities NATO could bring to Libya.
Daalder said other ideas being considered are retasking NATO vessels in the Mediterranean Sea along with nearby air assets to deal with humanitarian aid and establishing a command and control structure to coordinate relief efforts.
Obama: 'They will be held accountable'
U.S. President Barack Obama has made clear that all options are on the table, including a no-fly zone, but U.S. officials have also stressed that any military action must be an international effort. Several U.S. senators, including John McCain, have called on the Obama administration to support a no-fly zone.
"I want to send a very clear message to those who are around Colonel Gadhafi. It is their choice to make how they operate moving forward. And they will be held accountable for whatever violence continues to take place," Obama said during remarks in the Oval Office Monday.
Carney said the U.S. is also considering providing weapons to rebel forces, though he cautioned that there were still many unanswered questions about what groups comprise those forces.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert
Western diplomats have also cited difficulties in having enough aircraft and bases to police a no-fly zone effectively.
Pressure for a no-fly zone appears to be intensifying because of Gadhafi's regime unleashing its air power on the poorly equipped and poorly organized rebel force trying to oust their ruler of 41 years.
The heavy use of air power on Sunday — and again on Monday — signaled the regime's concern that it needed to check the advance of the rebel force toward the city of Sirte — Gadhafi's hometown and stronghold.
On Monday, Moscow came out against any foreign military intervention in Libya, state-controlled news agency RIA Novosti reported, quoting Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"We don't see foreign intervention, moreover the military one, as a means of solving the crisis in Libya. The Libyans have to solve their problems by themselves," Lavrov was quoted as saying.