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Arab League may back no-fly zone

By Reuters
Saturday, March 12, 2011 10:49 EDT
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CAIRO (Reuters) – Arab states meeting in Cairo are likely to back the idea of a no-fly zone over Libya, an Egyptian official said, in a decision that will provide the regional support NATO has said is needed for any military action.

Libyan rebels trying to end Muammar Gaddafi’s rule say a no-fly zone is vital to protect them from his air force.

The Arab League suspended Libya for its crackdown on the anti-Gaddafi uprising and at a March 2 meeting said the imposition of a no-fly zone was an option it was considering.

The Egyptian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Arab states would likely approve the idea of the imposition of a no-fly zone, though it was not clear what their role would be in enforcing it.

“The no-fly zone action would be the first step,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

European states have been looking to the Arab League to take the lead in shaping policy toward the revolt.

Hafiz Ghoga, a member of the rebel council based in Benghazi, told Al Jazeera television that he expected the Arab League to approve a no-fly zone. “The indications are positive that there will be a clear Arab position, especially with respect to a no-fly zone,” he said.

(Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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