Cease­fire as threat of air strikes hit Gaddafi

Townsville Bulletin - - World Snapshot -

LIBYA will halt all mil­i­tary o p e r a t i o n s i mme­diat e l y , Forei g n Min­ist e r Mussa Kussa said in Tripoli late last night.

‘‘ Libya has de­cided an im­me­di­ate cease­fire and an im­me­di­ate halt to all mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions,’’ Kussa told a press con­fer­ence.

He said be­cause Libya is a m e m b e r o f t h e U n i t e d Na­tions it is ‘‘ obliged to ac­cept the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil’s res­o­lu­tions’’.

Meet­ing on Thurs­day, the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil voted to p e r m i t ‘ ‘ a l l n e c e s s a r y mea­sures’’ to es­tab­lish a nofly zone, pro­tect civil­ian ar­eas and im­pose a cease­fire on Muam­mar Gaddafi’s mil­i­tary.

Euro­pean gov­ern­ments de­cided to ban all civil­ian flights to the coun­try af­ter the UN ap­proved air strikes, Europe’s air traf­fic agency said.

All 39 mem­ber states of Euro­con­trol, which in­cludes the Euro­pean Union’s 27 na­tions, asked the agency to ‘‘ ban all flights’’ fly­ing over and head­ing to Libya, the spokes­woman said.

The United States, Bri­tain and France were ex­pected to scram­ble fighter jets against Gaddafi’s forces af­ter they se­cured the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil’s bless­ing early yes­ter­day ( AEST) for a no-fly zone. Paris warned mil­i­tary ac­tion was im­mi­nent.

Gaddafi’s son Seif al-Is­lam said yes­ter­day his fam­ily was ‘ ‘ not afraid’’ as the Libyan for­eign min­istry said Tripoli was ready for a cease­fire but wanted to dis­cuss its terms.

The UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil had ear­lier voted by 10-0 to p e r m i t ‘ ‘ a l l n e c e s s a r y mea­sures’’ to es­tab­lish the no-fly zone, pro­tect civil­ian ar­eas and im­pose a cease­fire on Gaddafi’s mil­i­tary.

F i v e c o u n t r i e s o n

t h e 15-strong coun­cil ab­stained, in­clud­ing per­ma­nent mem­bers China and Rus­sia, who did not use their veto power. In­dia and Brazil also abs t a i n e d i n a d d i t i o n t o Ger­many.

The main rebel bas­tion Benghazi erupted with fire­works and joy­ful gun­fire af­ter news spread of the pass­ing of the UN res­o­lu­tion, which ap­proves ‘‘ all nec­es­sary mea­sures’’ to im­pose a no-fly zone, pro­tect civil­ian ar­eas and pres­sure the vet­eran Libyan leader into ac­cept­ing a cease­fire.

But rebels in Mis­rata, a rebel bas­tion 210km east of Tripoli, said Gaddafi’s forces were pound­ing the city yes­ter­day af­ter a night of heavy gun­fire.

‘‘ Dozens of bombs of all sorts have fallen on the city since last night,’’ the spokesman said on con­di­tion of anonymity.

He added the bomb­ing was ‘‘ still in­tense’’.

Else­where, clashes were also re­ported in the west­ern towns of Na­lut and Zin­tan.

So far Bri­tain, France, the U n i t e d S t a t e s , C a n a d a , N o r w a y a n d Q a t a r a r e among the coun­tries that have said they will help to en­force the no-fly zone.

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