No-fly vote sparks celebrations in Benghazi

2011-03-18 08:11
Benghazi – The UN Security Council’s move on Thursday to approve a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians from attacks by Muammar Gaddafi's forces sparked wild celebratory gunfire in rebel bastion Benghazi.

 The Security Council cleared the way for air strikes to halt Gaddafi’s  assault on embattled rebels in the country.

The 15-member Security Council in a resolution approved "all necessary measures" to impose a no-fly zone, protect civilian areas and pressure the Libyan leader into accepting a ceasefire.

The UN vote passed 10-0 with five abstentions - permanent members China and Russia which did not wield their veto power - plus Germany, Brazil and India.

No German troops will take part in any military intervention in Libya as there are "considerable risks and dangers", Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said afterwards.

"We remain eminently sceptical on the option of military intervention... anticipated in this resolution. We see in it considerable risks and dangers. That is why we could not approve this part of the text," a statement said.

"German soldiers will not take part in a military intervention in Libya."

Diplomats indicated air strikes from a coalition led by Britain, France and the United States could be imminent, just hours after Gaddafi had threatened to send his troops against Benghazi.

Change of tactics around Benghazi


Gaddafi later changed tack as "a humanitarian gesture" and decided to hold off on plans to mercilessly crush all resistance, CNN reported.

"I just took a phone call from one of Gaddafi’s sons, Seif (al-Islam). This is the message from the leadership," the CNN correspondent in Tripoli said.

"He said they're going to change the tactics around Benghazi, that the army is not going to go into Benghazi. It's going to take up positions around the stronghold. The reason is they expect a humanitarian exodus."

Libya, despite condemning the resolution as a threat to its unity, said it was ready for a ceasefire but wanted to discuss terms of its implementation, Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaaim told reporters.

He indicated Libya would "react positively to the UN resolution, and we will prove this willingness while guaranteeing protection to civilians".

US President Barack Obama called French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday to co-ordinate Libya strategy.

"The leaders agreed that Libya must immediately comply with all terms of the resolution and that violence against the civilian population of Libya must cease," the White House said in a statement.

Celebratory gunfire

The European Union welcomed the UN resolution and the head of the European Parliament, Poland's Jerzy Buzek, said "there was no time to waste" to enforce it.

Canadian media also reported plans to send six warplanes to help enforce the no-fly zone.

In Rome, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi met defence officials to discuss the UN decision, ANSA news agency said. It also quoted Kaaim in Tripoli as saying: "Let's hope Italy keeps out of this initiative."

Italy - Libya's former colonial ruler - has been diplomatically cautious so far but has voted in favour of sanctions against Gaddafi’s regime.

In Benghazi in the east, Libya's second city and stronghold of the month-long rebellion against Gaddafi’s iron-fisted four-decade rule, celebratory gunfire rang out moments after the UN vote.

Preachers in mosques in the Mediterranean city used loudspeakers to shout "God is greatest, God is greatest".

Tracer bullets streaked across the night sky and anti-aircraft fire punctuated the sound of car horns.

Gaddafi, in a televised address, had warned just hours before the vote that his forces would attack Benghazi on Thursday night and show "no mercy".

Read more on:    un  |  muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  libya protests  |  north africa  |  uprisings
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
13 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.