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Libya calls immediate ceasefire following UN no-fly resolution

Libya’s foreign minister says his country will halt all military action – just hours after the UN votes to impose a no-fly zone.

Libya's foreign minister Moussa Koussa said the country would call an immediate military ceasefire on the back of the UN resolution.
Libya's foreign minister Moussa Koussa said the country would call an immediate military ceasefire on the back of the UN resolution.
Image: Ben Curtis/AP

LIBYA’S FOREIGN MINISTER has announced that his country will be calling an immediate ceasefire to its military campaign, following the United Nations’ Security Council resolution seeking an end to armed hostilities in the country.

The Guardian reported that foreign minister Moussa Koussa said his country had accepted the resolution and would halt all military activity immediately – just hours after the UN’s heavyweight committee voted without opposition to impose a no-fly zone over the country.

As Libya was a member state of the United Nations, it was bound to respect the UN’s decisions, Koussa explained, adding that Libya encouraged the “opening of all dialogue channels” with the wider world.

The resolution was criticised nonetheless, saying the use of military force was both a breach of Libya’s sovereignty and of the UN’s charter.

Such a move meant UN forces would take pre-emptive military action to disable Libya’s own airborne capabilities.

It was not immediately clear whether the government’s decision had been backed by the country’s de facto leader Muammar Gaddafi, who had yesterday warned foreign forces he would turn his country into “another Vietnam”.

Foreign troops entering his country would “be entering Hell”, he said, adding that they would ultimately “drown in blood”.

Though the resolution of the Security Council was not unanimous, permanent members Russia and China – who both wield vetoes on the committee – both chose not to use them, meaning a 10-0 passage for the resolution.

The announcement of Libya’s ceasefire came shortly after British prime minister David Cameron revealed that the UK would send RAF planes to Libya “in the coming hours” to help enforce the no-fly zone.

Cameron told the House of Commons this morning that Britain would join a UN-authorized operation to stop Muammar Gaddafi from launching “a brutal attack using air, land and sea forces” on the rebel-held city of Benghazi.

RAF Typhoon and Tornado fighter jets would be involved in the operation, which Cameron said was ‘about saving lives’ and protecting people in Libya – insisting it was “not about choosing the government of Libya.”

The Commons speech came as Britain, France and NATO held emergency meetings following the overnight vote of the UN Security Council approved a no-fly zone over Libya.

Additional reporting by AP

More: What is a no-fly zone anyway ?>

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Gavan Reilly

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