UN Security Council meets on Libya

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 22, 2011 01:10 hrs

New York, March 22 (DPA) The UN Security Council held a closed-door meeting Monday on the situation in Libya as a coalition of countries implementing the no-fly zone was being formed.

The UN said countries that have officially announced their participation in the no-fly zone include the US, France, Britain, Denmark, Canada, Italy and Qatar. Other countries with the intention to contribute to the coalition could include Norway, Spain and Belgium.

The 15-nation council met at the request of Tripoli, which accused allied forces of killing civilians during airstrikes that began Saturday and were aimed at Libyan military installations. The meeting ended after 45 minutes without immediate reaction from council members.

Allied military actions against Libya came two days after the UN Security Council authorized 'use of all necessary means' to implement a ban on flights in Libyan airspace, known as a no-fly zone. The council said the aim is to protect civilians against Muammar Gaddafi's military repression.

Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa accused the council of paving the way for 'military aggression' against Libyan territory in his letter requesting the meeting.

Kusa said allied airstrikes aimed at several civilian sites and therefore violated international law.

'Libya's actions are a legitimate response against terrorism as it seeks to defend itself and to prevent terrorism from spreading in the Mediterranean region and Al Qaeda from infiltrating Europe, in accordance with the counterterrorism instruments to which it is party,' Kusa said.

Kusa directly requested the council meeting as Tripoli's new ambassador has not yet arrived in New York. Tripoli fired its ambassador and the deputy at the Libyan mission to the UN in New York after they denounced the repression of civilians in Libya last month.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Tunis Monday for a 'very important visit with a broad-based section of the Tunisian society', UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said. Ban had been in Cairo over the weekend.

'He will be on a listening mode,' Nesirky said.

Ban's visits to Cairo and Tunis were to gain first-hand information of the changes in those two countries after the people there succeeded in their demands for democratic reforms.