The Arab League called on the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya to stop air attacks by forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi, Egyptian state television reported.
The appeal was made during a meeting today in Cairo, according to the channel, as Arab leaders gathered to discuss options to halt the burgeoning civil war in neighboring Libya. Syria, Yemen and Algeria opposed the proposal, Al-Jazeera television reported, citing unidentified diplomats.
“The dangers are plenty and the Arab League has to bear its responsibility to avoid the descent into civil war or unneeded foreign intervention” in Libya, Yusuf bin Alawi, Oman’s foreign minister, said before the Cairo meeting. “An Arab intervention is needed using the tools of the Arab League and within the confines of international legitimacy.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he’s dispatching a special envoy to Tripoli this weekend in an effort to stop the violence and seek access for humanitarian aid. The European Union will assess the “efficiency” of economic sanctions on individuals and entities in Libya before deciding on further measures such as a no-fly zone, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said today.
Ashton will fly to Cairo tomorrow to meet with Arab League leaders and discuss the situation, she said after an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Hungary. A majority of leaders at a European Union summit in Brussels yesterday were “very reluctant” to launch military action sought by rebels and agreed that a no-fly zone would need UN and Arab support, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters.