UN Security Council holds Libya meeting

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 16:54 EDT
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UNITED NATIONS – The UN Security Council held formal consultations Tuesday on the Libya crisis with western nations pressing for a strong statement on the violence roiling the North African nation.

“There is even more concern after what was a very worrying speech by Moamer Kadhafi,” said one diplomat before the meeting of the 15-nation council.

The Security Council held informal consultations earlier as the Libyan leader vowed to crush protests against his rule amid fears of hundreds killed in a bloody clampdown by his regime.

Germany’s ambassador, Peter Wittig, called for the Security Council to take “swift and clear” action on Libya.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said the UN Security Council “must bring its influence to bear.”

He added that Britain “will condemn the violence and call on all parties to respect human rights and act with restraint and in accordance with international law. We will raise the Libyan government?s responsibility to offer full protection to foreign nationals in Libya.”

Libya’s UN Ambassador Mohamed Shalgham spoke to the Security Council about the protests along with B. Lynn Pascoe, UN under-secretary-general for political affairs.

Shalgham arrived at the meeting separately from his deputy ambassador, Ibrahim Dabbashi, who has called for Kadhafi to stand down and requested Tuesday’s meeting.

Dabbashi sent a letter demanding that the Security Council order a no-fly zone over Libya and for a humanitarian corridor to get supplies to civilians. But diplomats said no action has yet been discussed.

“Kadhafi is my friend. I can criticize him but I cannot attack him,” Shalgham told reporters. “He is very brave.”

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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