Friday, June 14, 2024
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UN council plans swift end to Libya mandate

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UNITED NATIONS: The Security Council plans to end its UN authorization for a no-fly zone and NATO intervention in Libya this week despite calls from Libya’s government for it to wait, council envoys said on Saturday.

Libyan Deputy UN Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi told the 15-nation council that Libya’s people are ”looking forward to terminating the no-fly zone over Libya as well as terminating the mandate accorded by Security Council resolution 1973 to protect civilians as soon as possible.”

”In accordance with the initial assessments, the date of October 31 is a logical date to terminate this mandate,” he said.

But he said that Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) had not yet made an official decision on whether to request termination of the UN mandate under resolution 1973, which authorized members of NATO and other UN member states to take ”all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians.

That was why the Libyan government wanted the council to hold off on ending NATO’s UN mandate, Dabbashi said.

”We request the council to give a chance to the NTC to take a resolution on this,” he said. ”This requires some days. Perhaps this will take place before the 31st of this month.”

Dabbashi said the government needed more time to assess the security situation in its country and its ability to monitor its borders.

Western diplomats on the Security Council spoke to reporters after holding closed-door discussions on Libya. They said council members planned to go ahead and terminate the U.N. mandate, thereby withdrawing NATO’s authorization in Libya.

They said that the issues that the NTC has suggested it would like NATO to help it with, including border security, fall outside the UN mandate to protect civilians and enforce a no-fly zone.

”The job was to protect civilians and from NATO’s point of -view, that mission has been accomplished,” a diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. ”There’s no point in delaying termination of the mandate.”

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who has repeatedly accused NATO of exceeded its UN mandate in Libya, said extending the UN authorization beyond Oct. 31 would be ”unrealistic.”

Diplomats said they hoped the council would vote on a resolution terminating the mandate to protect civilians in Libya this week, possibly as early as tomorrow.

The Security Council in March authorized a no-fly zone and foreign military intervention to protect Libyans from government security forces ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi had deployed to suppress pro-democracy uprisings across the country.

In the coming days the council is also expected to approve a Russian-drafted resolution voicing concern about the proliferation of shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles across Libya and beyond its borders, diplomats said.

Apparently responding to calls from various senior UN officials for an investigation into the circumstances of the death of Gaddafi after his October 20 capture, Dabbashi denied that NTC soldiers had summarily executed him.

Gaddafi died of wounds he had sustained prior to his capture, he said.

”Gaddafi was injured in the course of the clashes between his loyalists and the revolutionaries,” Dabbashi said. ”When he was arrested, he was bleeding from his abdomen and head and he passed away (upon) his arrival to the hospital in Misrata.” (UNI)

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