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UN Security Council Briefed On Latest Events In Libya

Security Council Briefed On Latest Events In Libya As UN Envoy Leaves For Tripoli

New York, Mar 14 2011 5:10PM
The Security Council was briefed today on the latest events in Libya by the United Nations political chief amid mounting concern over the fighting between Colonel Muammar Al-Qadhafi’s forces and opponents seeking his ouster.

Over the weekend the Arab League requested that the Council impose a no-fly zone against Mr. Qadhafi’s air force, which has been pounding cities held by his opponents, according to media reports, but today’s Council session met in closed consultations – including the briefing by Under-Secretary-General B. Lynn Pascoe – and no details were officially released.

Meanwhile, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Envoy for Libya, former Jordanian foreign minister Abdul Ilah Khatib, is on his way to Tripoli, the capital, for humanitarian and political talks. Mr. Khatib held talks with Mr. Ban on the situation over the weekend before leaving New York for the North African country.

Mr. Khatib’s team will assess the situation on the ground and “undertake broad consultations with Libyan authorities on the immediate humanitarian, political and security situation,” Mr. Ban said last Friday, stressing that he has instructed the envoy to convey “in no uncertain terms” the concerns of the UN and the international community as expressed in Security Council resolutions.

In a unanimously adopted resolution the Council last month imposed sanctions against the Libyan authorities, placing an arms embargo on the country and freezing the assets of its leaders, while referring the ongoing violent repression of civilian demonstrators to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands.

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ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo subsequently announced that he is opening an investigation into Mr. Qadhafi, some of his sons and members of his inner circle for crimes against humanity in repressing peaceful protesters in violence that has claimed hundreds or even thousands of lives, according to media reports. Mr. Ban has said Mr. Qadhafi lost his legitimacy when he declared war on his people.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Rashid Khalikov, arrived in Tripoli over the weekend and has met with authorities to discuss access for humanitarian aid workers throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of refugees, mainly migrant workers, have already fled across the borders into Tunisia and Egypt.

“The Government has informed Mr. Khalikov that his mission would be granted access to locations outside Tripoli during his visit, including to areas of recent fighting,” spokesperson Farhan Haq told a news briefing in New York.

“The Humanitarian Coordinator’s team has observed that Tripoli appears calm, with shops being open and people moving freely in the city. But it has also observed a large number of migrant workers forming long lines outside airport terminals and in makeshift camps outside the airport,” he said.


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