Arab decision boosts prospect of EU military action in Libya

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton joint press conference with Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa, March 14, 2011.

From Andrew Rettman, the EUobserver:  The Arab League has given the green light for Western powers to impose a no-fly zone in Libya, prompting France to step up its campaign for military action.

The 22-member league in a resolution on Saturday (12 March) called for the UN Security Council to quickly issue a mandate for a no-fly zone in Libya following a meeting at its office in Tahrir Square in Cairo, the main stage of last month’s revolution in Egypt.

Secretary general Amr Moussa said the move is needed to "protect Libyan citizens" and to "maintain the safety and sovereignty of neighbouring nations."

Mustafa Gheriani, a spokesman for rebel leaders under the banner of the Libyan National Council in Benghazi, said following the decision: "We hope the Europeans will deliver now. This changes things a lot … We hope it will change the American position, but most of all the European position."

The Arab move prompted France to say it will use a meeting of G8 foreign ministers in Paris on Monday and Tuesday to canvass support for intervention.

"France will accelerate its efforts, in the coming hours, in concertation with its partners in the EU, Arab League, United Nations Security Council and the Libyan transitional national council," French foreign minister Alain Juppe said.  (photo: Getty)

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