As Libyan strongman Muammar Qadhafi unleashed a major offensive to wrest the rebel-held areas using fighter jets and gunships, Britain and France have drafted a resolution to establish a no-fly zone in Libya to prevent the dictator’s air force from bombing civilians.
“At the UN Security Council, we are working closely with partners on a contingency basis on elements of a resolution on a no-fly zone, making clear the need for regional support, a clear trigger for such a resolution and an appropriate legal basis,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague told the House of Commons on Monday.
“There should be a demonstrable need that the whole world can see, there must be a clear legal basis for such a no-fly zone and there must be clear support from the region... as well as from the people of Libya themselves,” he said.
However, there has been no clear indication yet on whether this resolution will be introduced in the Security Council.
U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday that military action by U.S. and NATO forces was still an option.
“I want to send a very clear message to those who are around Colonel Qadhafi: It is their choice to make how they operate moving forward, and they will be held accountable for whatever violence continues to take place there,” Mr. Obama said.
“In the meantime, we’ve got NATO, as we speak, consulting in Brussels around a wide range of potential options, including potential military options, in response to the violence that continues to take place inside of Libya,” he added.
Two top diplomats of the Libyan mission, who turned against Libyan leader Mr. Qadhafi, have called for a no-fly zone to be established.
With forces loyal to Mr. Qadhafi intensifying attacks, rebel groups have also indicated that they are in favor of a no-fly zone, but they have rejected military intervention by foreign forces on the ground.
Last month, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution slapping sanctions on the Libyan regime, which includes a complete arms embargo, an asset freeze, a travel ban and an immediate referral to the Hague-based International Criminal Court.
The Security Council resolution passed against Mr. Qadhafi and his loyalists does not include a no-fly zone.