Tag Archives: Arab League

Libya’s transitional leader declares liberation, sets Islamist tone for future

By The Associated Press | The Canadian Press

BENGHAZI, LibyaLibya‘s transitional leader declared his country’s liberation on Sunday, three days after the hated dictator Moammar Gadhafi was captured and killed.

He called on Libyans to show “patience, honesty and tolerance” and eschew hatred as they embark on rebuilding the country at the end of an 8-month civil war.

The transitional government leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil set out a vision for the post-Gadhafi future with an Islamist tint, saying that Islamic Sharia law would be the “basic source” of legislation in the country and that existing laws that contradict the teachings of Islam would be nullified. In a gesture that showed his own piety, he urged Libyans not to express their joy by firing in the air, but rather to chant “Allahu Akbar,” or God is Great. He then stepped aside and knelt to offer a brief prayer of thanks.

“This revolution was looked after by God to achieve victory,” he told the crowd at the declaration ceremony in the eastern city of Benghazi, the birthplace of the uprising against Gadhafi began. He thanked those who fell in the fight against Gadhafi’s forces. “This revolution began peacefully to demand the minimum of legitimate rights, but it was met by excessive violence.”

Abdul-Jalil said new banks would be set up to follow the Islamic banking system, which bans charging interest. For the time being, he said interest would be cancelled from any personal loans already taken out less than 10,000 Libyan dinars (about $7,500).

He also announced that all military personnel and civilians who have taken part in the fight against Gadhafi would be promoted to the rank above their existing one. He said a package of perks would later be announced for all fighters.

“Thank You, thank you to the fighters who achieved victory, both civilians and military,” he said. He also paid tribute to the Gulf Cooperation Council, a six-nation alliance led by Saudi Arabia, The Arab League and the European Union. NATO, which aided the anti-Gadhafi fighters with airstrikes, performed its task with “efficiency and professionalism.”

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/libyas-transitional-leader-declares-liberation-sets-islamist-tone-163539334.html


Supporters call for vote Thursday on UN resolution to impose no-fly zone on Libya

By Anita Snow,Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press

Supporters of a no-fly zone over Libya called for a Security Council vote Thursday on a U.N. resolution aimed at preventing Moammar Gadhafi‘s planes from conducting aerial attacks on the Libyan people, but the United States was pushing for broader action to protect civilians from land and sea attacks as well.

Britain and France put a draft resolution that would impose a no-fly zone in a final form late Wednesday after more than eight hours of closed-door discussions by Security Council ambassadors. France’s U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said the text was being sent to capitals overnight and could still be changed before being put to a vote in the 15-member council.

With Gadhafi’s forces intensifying attacks and heading toward rebel-held Bengazi, Libya’s second-largest city, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told the reporters the Obama administration is “fully focused on the urgency and the gravity of the situation on the ground.”

According to a council diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks were private, Rice said during more than eight hours of closed-door discussions by council ambassadors Wednesday the goal should be expanded from creating a no-fly zone to protecting civilians, meaning the international community must have all the tools it needs including authorization to use planes, troops or ships to stop attacks by Gadhafi’s air, land and sea forces.

According to the diplomat, Rice said the U.S. will not act without Security Council authorization, does not want to put U.S. ground troops into Libya, and insists on broad international participation, especially by Arab states.

“We are interested in a broad range of actions that will effectively protect civilians and increase the pressure on the Gadhafi regime to halt the killing and to allow the Libyan people to express themselves in their aspirations for the future freely and peacefully,” Rice told reporters after the meeting. “Those include discussion of a no-fly zone, but the U.S. view is that … a no-fly zone has inherent limitations in terms of protection of civilians at immediate risk.”

The initial draft resolution would establish a ban on all flights in Libyan airspace and authorize U.N. member states “to take all necessary measures” to protect civilians. But an amendment proposed by the United States and obtained by The Associated Press would authorize states “to protect civilians and civilian objects from the Gadhafi regime, including by halting attacks by air, land and sea forces under the control of the Gadhafi regime.”

During the sometimes heated closed-door discussions, the diplomat said Rice told council members the United States is very concerned that Gadhafi’s forces are on a rapid march to Benghazi and wants the amendment because a no-fly zone isn’t enough to protect civilians from probable atrocities.

It was unclear if the amendment the U.S. was calling for would remain in the text that was eventually put to a vote.

The diplomat said Russia, which has veto power, raised serious questions about the use of force against Gadhafi and other council nations reacted cautiously.

Lebanon, France and Britain introduced the draft resolution Tuesday afternoon, spurred by the Arab League‘s urgent call for a no-fly zone.

Rice told reporters the U.S. is “working very hard” toward having a vote on Thursday.

China’s U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong, the current council president, told reporters “we hope we will have real progress tomorrow.”

An Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity because council discussions are private, said the United States is discussing a range of other concrete steps with allies, both at the United Nations and at NATO. Among those additional steps are greater humanitarian aid, supporting the Libyan resistance with money from seized Gadhafi-related assets, and greater enforcement of the U.N. arms embargo on Libya.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, whose government had expressed misgivings about a no-fly zone, proposed that the council vote first on a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Libya. Rice told reporters a majority of council members did not support a separate cease-fire resolution but said that a call for a cease-fire could be incorporated in the no-fly resolution.

“We were not rejecting at all the larger resolution,” Churkin told reporters, adding that his country thought that the call for a cease-fire “could possibly prevent impending bloodshed in Libya.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier Wednesday urged all sides in Libya to accept an immediate cease-fire.

Ban “is gravely concerned about the increasing military escalation by government forces, which include indications of an assault on the city of Benghazi,” U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

The U.N. chief warned that “a campaign to bombard such an urban centre would massively place civilian lives at risk,” Nesirky said.

While Russia and Germany expressed doubts, France pushed for rapid action with Foreign Minister Alain Juppe saying in Paris that several Arab countries have pledged to participate in possible military action in the North African country.

Libya’s deputy U.N. ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi, who supports the opposition, said five Arab countries have offered support.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called on leaders of the 14 other Security Council nations to “fully shoulder their responsibilities and give support to this initiative.”

“Together, we can save the martyred people of Libya,” he wrote in a letter. “It is now a matter of days, if not hours. The worst would be that the appeal of the League of the Arab States and the Security Council decisions be overruled by the force of arms.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said during a visit to Egypt on Wednesday that the Obama administration is consulting with the Arab League “about their understanding of the goals and modalities of a no-fly zone as well as other forms of support.”

“We believe that this must be an international effort and that there has to be decisions made in the Security Council in order for any of these steps to go forward,” she said.

Libya’s Dabbashi told reporters he expects a no-fly resolution to be adopted, with a provision that will also allow air strikes.

He stressed the urgency of council action, saying according to information the Libyan Mission has received, Gadhafi is preparing for two operations: One against the eastern city of Ajdabiya, which is already under siege using mercenaries in more than 400 vehicles that are already en route, and one against mountain villages in the west where tanks, heavy artillery and other weapons are being gathered for an assault.

The latest push for a ban on flights in Libya came as Gadhafi’s forces intensified offensives in the east and the west Wednesday with relentless shelling aimed at routing rebel holdouts.

France and Britain failed to win support for a no-fly zone during a two-day meeting of Group of Eight foreign ministers in Paris earlier Tuesday and the G-8’s final communique did not mention a flight ban, leaving any action to the Security Council.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the G-8 that his country wants more details and clarity from the Arab League about its proposals for Libya before approving any military intervention, and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said his country was “very skeptical” about military action.

The Security Council on Feb. 26 imposed an arms embargo on Libya and ordered all countries to freeze assets and ban travel for Gadhafi and some close associates. It also referred the regime’s deadly crackdown on protesters to the International Criminal Court, for an investigation of possible crimes against humanity.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/french-minister-says-several-arab-nations-participate-military-20110316-042813-499.html

 


Hosni Mubarak’s last remnant

Egyptian PM Ahmed Shafiq quits

By Mona Salem | AFP News

Egypt‘s military rulers have accepted the surprise resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, seen by protesters as a symbol of ousted president Hosni Mubarak‘s regime, the army said on Thursday.

He will be replaced by Essam Sharaf, a former transport minister who took part in the mass rallies in Cairo‘s Tahrir Square which led to strongman Mubarak’s resignation on February 11 after three decades in power.

Shafiq was appointed by Mubarak in the dying days of his rule, in a failed bid to quell the protests. The military council has been running Egypt since Mubarak stood down.

“The Supreme Council of Military Forces announces that it has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq,” the statement said, without elaborating on the reasons for the move.

Since the fall of Mubarak, protesters have continued to call for a replacement of the current government, which includes several ministers from the toppled regime.

The council has previously ordered the government to run the country’s affairs for six months “or until the end of parliamentary and presidential elections” and is also examining constitutional reforms.

Shafiq had been expected to stay in office at least until the elections.

His successor, Sharaf, was transport minister from 2002 to 2005. He was sacked over differences with then-premier Ahmad Nazif. Nazif was himself sacked four days after the start of the anti-Mubarak protests.

Sharaf is popular with the youths who launched the revolt against Mubarak, having taken part in the huge demonstrations in Tahrir Square in central Cairo.

Key opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei, who headed the Vienna-based UN International Atomic Energy Agency from 1997 to 2009 and returned to Egypt join the protests, welcomed Shafiq’s resignation.

On Twitter, he said: “We are on the right track, I express my sincere appreciation to the Supreme Council of Armed Forces who have accepted the demand of the people.”

The nationwide protests that erupted on January 25 left at least 384 dead, more than 6,000 injured and scores detained.

Mubarak is currently receiving medical treatment for cancer in Saudi Arabia, a state-owned newspaper reported on Wednesday, despite the fact that the government imposed a travel ban on him and his family at the weekend.

The paper reported that Mubarak left for the Saudi city of Tabuk days after he resigned.

Egypt’s military council met a group including ElBaradei and Arab League chief Amr Mussa on Tuesday to discuss upcoming reforms, the state news agency MENA said.

The talks focused on constitutional reform, especially on the conditions for presidential candidates and the reduction of the number of terms to two of four years instead of an unlimited number of six-year terms, it said.

Mussa said last month he would be a candidate for Egyptian president.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/egypt-pm-ahmed-shafiq-resigns-20110303-023555-809.html