Tag Archives: United Nations

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

 


Will the US intervene in Libya?

Libya poses stern test of Obama’s doctrine of military intervention to protect civilians

By Bradley Klapper,Matthew Lee, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press

WASHINGTON – Preparing for the prospect of deeper international intervention, President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron conferred Tuesday on the spectrum of military and humanitarian responses to Libya’s worsening civil strife. The British leader bluntly said after the talk that the world cannot stand aside and let Moammar Gadhafi brutalize his people.

In weighing the options, the Obama administration underscored that any authorization of a no-fly zone over Libya must come from the Security Council at the United Nations.

“We think it’s important that the United Nations make this decision — not the United States,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told Britain’s Sky News. The comment reflected Obama’s thinking that any action intended to halt Libya’s violence must carry the legitimacy and strength of an international coalition.

Obama’s top national security advisers were to meet Wednesday at the White House to outline what steps are realistic to pressure Gadhafi to end the violence and leave power, officials said. Clinton, national security adviser Tom Donilon and CIA chief Leon Panetta are among those expected to attend as Obama’s team centred in on recommendations for him. The president himself was not expected to attend.

Obama and Cameron agreed to press ahead on potential responses from the U.S. and its NATO allies, including the creation of a no-fly zone over Libyan airspace to keep Gadhafi from bombarding the rebels seeking to oust him from power, according to statements released from their offices. Other options including steeper surveillance, humanitarian assistance and enforcement of an arms embargo as Libya slips from Gadhafi’s grip and into a civil war.

“We have got to prepare for what we might have to do if he (Gadhafi) goes on brutalizing his own people,” Cameron told the BBC.

Cameron said his call with Obama was to talk “about the planning we have to do in case this continues and in case he does terrible things to his own people.” The prime minister added: “I don’t think we can stand aside and let that happen.”

Libya’s rebel movement has been countered by overwhelming power from loyalists to Gadhafi. Pro-regime forces halted its drive on Tripoli with a heavy barrage of rockets in the east and threatened on Tuesday to recapture the closest rebel-held city to the capital in the west.

The continuing violence increased pressure, from NATO toWashington, for intervention.

Rebels are fighting to oust Gadhafi from power after more than 41 years, and his bloody crackdown has left hundreds, perhaps thousands, dead. Libya’s U.N. ambassador, who broke with Gadhafi, has urged the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone to prevent Gadhafi’s forces from bombing civilians. Britain and France are drafting a resolution, but no decision has been made.

The United States has acted itself and worked with world partners to impose sanctions on the Libyan regime and freeze its assets.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Tuesday that the creation of a no-fly zone could help hasten Gadhafi’s exit.

“Every day and every hour that goes by, innocent Libyans are being attacked and massacred from the air,” McCain said. “I also worry about additional actions that Gadhafi could take such as bombing oil facilities, which could have extreme environmental consequences.”

Earlier in the day, at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, McCain pressed senior the secretary of the Navy, the chief of Naval Operations and the commandant of the Marine Corps about U.S. military equipment in the region and how difficult it would be to impose a no-fly zone. The witnesses described Libya’s air defence as “modest” but insisted that combat operations would be a precursor to any action.

In order to ground the Libyan air force, thereby providing air cover for the rebels, U.S. and partner aircraft would first attack Libya’s anti-aircraft defences.

Sen. Richard Lugar, ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, warned that imposing a no-fly zone would be a costly “act of war.”

“The United States should not, in my view, launch military intervention into yet another Muslim country without thinking long and hard about the consequences and implications,” Lugar said.

The White House meeting of the president’s highest security advisers on Wednesday will examine the ramifications of a no-fly zone over Libya and potential military options, although the final decision will rest with Obama, officials said.

A highly visible show of force could involve U.S. ships moving into the Gulf of Sidra and lingering in international waters, which would be about 14 miles off shore. Other options include greater use of surveillance flights, intelligence-gathering and ongoing support for evacuations and humanitarian assistance.

On Capitol Hill, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon, a Republican, took a swipe at Obama at the end of a news conference.

“He’s doing a great job of doing nothing on Libya,” McKeon said.

Clinton, in the Sky News interview, said the United States wants Gadhafi to go peacefully. He has shown no intention to do so.

“If that’s not possible, then we are going to work with the international community,” she said. “Now, there are countries that do not agree with that. We think it’s important that the United Nations make this decision, not the United States, and so far the United Nations has not done that. I think it’s very important that this not be a U.S.-led effort, because this comes from the people of Libya themselves; this doesn’t come from the outside.”

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/obama-cameron-discuss-libya-options-clinton-says-un-20110308-153123-560.html

 

 


Muammar al Gaddafi speech to the United Nations General Assembly 2009









*video courtesy of MOXNews.com


Canada imposes sanctions against Libya, including arms embargo, asset freeze

By The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – Canada has joined the United Nations and a number of Western countries in slapping sanctions against Libya following the deadly crackdown on protesters by the regime of Moammar Gadhafi.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the sanctions on Sunday, while calling on Gadhafi to step down.

“It is clear that the only acceptable course of action for him is to halt the bloodshed and to immediately vacate his position and his authority,” Harper said in a televised statement.

The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday to impose an arms embargo on Libya and urged UN member countries to freeze the assets of Gadhafi, four of his sons and a daughter.

The council also backed a travel ban on the Gadhafi family and close associates, including leaders of the revolutionary committees accused of much of the violence against regime opponents.

Harper said Canada will go beyond the UN resolution.

“Our government will impose an asset freeze on, and a prohibition of financial transactions with the government of Libya, its institutions and agencies, including the Libyan Central Bank.

“These actions will help restrict the movement of, and access to money and weapons for those responsible for the violence against the Libyan people.”

The 192-member UN General Assembly is meeting Tuesday to vote on a UN Human Rights Council recommendation to suspend Libya from the world organization’s top human rights body.

Harper said Gadhafi has betrayed his own people.

“A government’s first and most fundamental responsibility is to protect the safety and security of its citizens. Mr. Gadhafi has bluntly violated this most basic trust. Far from protecting the Libyan people against peril, he is the root cause of the dangers they face.”

The prime minister also announced that a second C-17 aircraft has arrived in Malta, ready to help evacuate Canadians still stranded in Libya. Two C-130 Hercules aircraft will also being deployed to the region to provide additional and flexible capacity, Harper said.

“The Canadian Armed Forces in co-ordination with our allies will deploy these aircraft as circumstances permit.”

About 100 Canadians are believed to still be in Libya, most of them oil workers.

Efforts continued all weekend to contact those Canadians, Harper said.

”The emergency operation centre of the department of foreign affairs is continuing to contact registered Canadians by phone, where possible, regarding opportunities to leave the country by any possible means.”

A Canadian Forces C-17 aircraft evacuated 46 people including its diplomatic staff from Libya on Saturday.

The Conservative government has faced criticism that it has not responded quickly enough to the needs of stranded Canadians.

Other countries engaged their military to evacuate their citizens from multiple locations in Libya, including the eastern desert, where many of the oil rigs are located.

The British military, including members of its special forces, used a Hercules to fly under the Libyan radar and rescue 150 Britons and foreign nationals in a desert area on Sunday. The British government said one of the RAF Hercules aircraft appeared to have suffered minor damage from small arms fire.

Two German military planes evacuated 132 people also from the desert during a secret military mission on Saturday, landing on a private runway belonging to the Wintershall AG company.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/hercules-aircraft-could-used-help-canadians-libya-20110227-131753-448.html


Planet could be ‘unrecognizable’ by 2050

AFP News

A growing, more affluent population competing for ever scarcer resources could make for an “unrecognizable” world by 2050, researchers warned at a major US science conference Sunday.

The United Nations has predicted the global population will reach seven billion this year, and climb to nine billion by 2050, “with almost all of the growth occurring in poor countries, particularly Africa and South Asia,” said John Bongaarts of the non-profit Population Council.

To feed all those mouths, “we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000,” said Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

“By 2050 we will not have a planet left that is recognizable” if current trends continue, Clay said.

The swelling population will exacerbate problems, such as resource depletion, said John Casterline, director of the Initiative in Population Research at Ohio State University.

But incomes are also expected to rise over the next 40 years — tripling globally and quintupling in developing nations — and add more strain to global food supplies.

People tend to move up the food chain as their incomes rise, consuming more meat than they might have when they made less money, the experts said.

It takes around seven pounds (3.4 kilograms) of grain to produce a pound of meat, and around three to four pounds of grain to produce a pound of cheese or eggs, experts told AFP.

“More people, more money, more consumption, but the same planet,” Clay told AFP, urging scientists and governments to start making changes now to how food is produced.

Population experts, meanwhile, called for more funding for family planning programs to help control the growth in the number of humans, especially in developing nations.

“For 20 years, there’s been very little investment in family planning, but there’s a return of interest now, partly because of the environmental factors like global warming and food prices,” said Bongaarts.

“We want to minimize population growth, and the only viable way to do that is through more effective family planning,” said Casterline.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/planet-could-unrecognizable-2050-experts-20110220-120547-402.html

 


The fear of Hunger….

Egyptians face food hardship after protests

By Sherine El Madany

CAIRO (Reuters) – Electrician Hassan Ibrahim, a father of three, hopes Egypt‘s revolution will speed the day he no longer lives in fear that his family will go hungry.

On January 28, he joined millions of protesters on streets acrossEgypt, home to one of the world’s fastest food inflation rates, in an uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.

For now, Ibrahim finds life even harder than before.

Days of rejoicing followed Mubarak’s resignation last week but now Egyptians replenishing their food supplies are finding empty shelves or hugely inflated prices.

Prices of food and drink already soared 18 percent year-on-year last month while Ibrahim’s salary stagnated.

As protestors chanted for Mubarak’s removal, other Egyptians could be seen piling up shopping carts with emergency provisions and heaving bags full of the country’s staple brown beans home from markets before a nighttime curfew.

“Prices rose even higher through the days of protests as everyone has been stocking up during the curfew,” said Ibrahim.

This is an extra headache for authorities eager to restore confidence in an economy hit by strikes and bank closures.

The pressure to guarantee food supplies is great given Egypt’s history of sporadic bread riots which led the army to intervene on occasions to ensure calm or distribute supplies.

Egypt relies on imports for at least half of domestic consumption and the revolution came as global food prices, as tracked by a U.N. agency, hit their highest on record in January.

Shoppers said the latest price surge came amid panic buying of essential goods on fears of future shortages. Merchants also blame a rise in the cost of transport.

“Prices have gone up for both merchants and buyers,” said Omm Mahmoud, who sells fruit and vegetables in a Cairo suburb. “It now costs me more to have my goods transported from the farms to the city, and I have to pass on those costs.”

If prices aren’t a problem, then supplies are.

“In state-run shops grocery prices are reasonable but supply is not enough,” said 53-year old housewife Magda Hussein. “They run out of items quickly, so I have to purchase the rest of my groceries from stores that charge about double the price.”

Like other protesters, Ibrahim blames higher living costs on Mubarak, who ruled a country where a fifth of the population lives on less than $2 a day, according to the United Nations.

Ibrahim brought his children to Tahrir (Liberation) Square, the heart of the revolution in Cairo, several times to learn about the value of democracy.

“I know that living costs and unemployment could rise, but that is a price I am willing to pay for the success of the revolution. I want my children to live in a free country,” he said.

PAIN TO LAST

John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi, said Mubarak fell due to rising inequality, high unemployment and very high inflation. “Food inflation will continue to be the biggest concern,” he said. “People … will not maybe buy a car but they will still have to eat.”

Global prices are set to stay high after a massive snowstorm in the United States and floods in Australia.

Beltone investment bank indicated the suffering in Egypt was likely to continue. “This spike in prices is set to continue into February and perhaps subsequent months, although this will largely depend on the unfolding political situation,” it said in a research note.

Sfakianakis expects Egypt’s food inflation to continue rising in 2011 to reach about 20 percent year-on-year, and said it would be difficult for Egypt to curb prices because globally they are likely to remain high this year.

The situation won’t be helped by a drop in the Egyptian pound that makes imported goods even dearer and adds further strain to the government’s import subsidy bill.

“We … believe that global food prices will add to upward inflationary pressures, although the government will continue to increase subsidies when required on basic goods to keep prices stable,” said investment bank EFG-Hermes.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/egyptians-face-food-hardship-protests-20110217-104733-908.html