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Middle East
UN council to discuss Libya
An extraordinary meeting of the Arab League will also take place on Tuesday as leaders express alarm over crackdown.
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2011 12:18 GMT

World leaders have condemned the regime's crackdown on protests in which more than 200 people have died [Reuters]

The UN Security Council will hold a closed-door meeting on Tuesday to discuss the crisis in Libya, diplomats said.

They said the meeting, known as consultations, had been requested by Libyan deputy ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi and would start at 1400 GMT.

Dabbashi and other diplomats at Libya's mission to the UN announced on Monday that they had sided with protesters in Libya and were calling for the overthrow of long-time Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani, Qatar's prime minister and foreign minister, called for an extraordinary meeting of the Arab League to take place on Tuesday.

The aim is to discuss the current crisis in Libya and to put additional "pressure" on the government, Al-Thani told Al Jazeera.

With reports of a large-scale crackdown on protesters under way in Tripoli, a spokesperson for Ban Ki-moon said the UN chief held extensive discussions with Muammar Gaddafi on Monday.

Ban condemned the escalating violence in Libya and told Gaddafi that it "must stop immediately”.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her part said it was "time to stop this unnacceptable bloodshed" in Libya.

The secretary-general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) on Tuesday condemned the violent crackdown on protests in Libya, and called on Gaddafi's government to stop "targetting innocent Libyan people". He said that "peaceful means and serious dialogue" should be adopted.

Lord David Owen, a former British foreign minister, told Al Jazeera that it was "quite unacceptable" for the international community to "sit back and watch the Libyan air force shooting at people in the streets", and that the the UN security council should use its powers under Article 7 of the UN charter to declare a no-fly zone as soon as possible.

We present here a snapshot  of global reactions.

Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary general

"The secretary-general expressed deep concern at the escalating scale of violence and emphasised that it must stop
immediately. He reiterated his call for respect for basic freedoms and human rights, including peaceful assembly and
information," the UN chief's spokesman said after Ban spoke to Colonel Gaddafi on Monday.

" ... The secretary-general underlined the need to ensure the protection of the civilian population under any
circumstances. He urged all parties to exercise restraint and called upon the authorities to engage in broad-based dialogue to address legitimate concerns of the population."

Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state

"The world is watching the situation in Libya with alarm. We join the international community in strongly condemning the violence in Libya. Our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives have been lost, and with their loved ones.

"The government of Libya has a responsibility to respect the universal rights of the people, including the right to free expression and assembly. Now is the time to stop this unacceptable bloodshed. We are working urgently with friends and partners around the world to convey this message to the Libyan government."

David Cameron, British prime minister

Cameron, who is visiting Egypt, called the crackdown on protesters "appalling".

"The regime is using the most vicious forms of repression against people who want to see that country - which is one of the most closed and one of the most autocratic -  make progress,"' he said.

Silvio Berlusconi, Italian prime minister

"Prime Minister Berlusconi is alarmed over the escalation of clashes in Libya and for the unacceptable use of violence on the civilian population," the government said in a statement.

"The European Union and the international community must do everything to prevent the Libyan crisis from degenerating into a civil war with unpredictable consequences and favour a peaceful solution that protects citizens, the integrity and the stability of the country and the entire region."

Nicolas Sarkozy, French president

"The president of the republic condemns the unacceptable use of force against Libyans who are only exercising their
fundamental right to protest and express themselves freely," a statement issued by the presidential palace said.

"The president calls for an immediate end to the violence and a political solution to respond to the Libyan people's
aspirations for liberty and democracy."

Navi Pillay, UN high commissioner for human rights

"The callousness with which Libyan authorities and their hired guns are reportedly shooting live rounds of ammunition at peaceful protestors is unconscionable," Pillay said in a statement.

"I am extremely worried that lives are being lost even as I speak. The international community must unite in condemnation of such acts and make unequivocal commitments to ensure justice is rendered to the thousands of
victims of this repression."

Pillay also called for the "immediate cessation of the grave human rights  violations committed by Libyan authorities and urged an independent international investigation into the violent suppression of protests in the country," the statement said.

Guido Westerwelle, German foreign minister

Westerwelle has said that international sanctions against Libya will become inevitable if the status quo continues, though he did not elaborate on what the nature of such sanctions might be.

"The best way to stability is the way of democracy ... A ruling family that threatens its own people with civil war is finished.''

Hamad bin Jassim Jabr Al-Thani, Qatar's prime minister

"I feel a big sympathy for the Libyan people. We don't accept using force in this way or any way against the people or against any nation from their governments," he told Al Jazeera.

"And we make our declaration in this space and we think that the international community should also take a stand against what is happening in Libya at the moment."

"I think the Security Council has to play a role.. the condemnation is not enough.. I think the five permanent members and others, they should take the responsibility and do something to help the civillian people in Libya, because what happens is not accepted..." 

Khalid Al-Khalifa, Bahraini foreign minister

"What is happening in Libya is senseless , ruthless brutality against innocent people. God help them," he said on the micro-blogging site Twitter.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish prime minister

"One must not fall into the mistake of turning a blind eye to the people's demands for democracy and freedoms. The Libyan administration must not commit such a mistake," Erdogan said in a speech to his lawmakers in parliament.

"Ruthless interventions against those who voice democratic demands will increase the spiral of violence.The spread of growing violence to the whole of Libya is dangerous," he said.

Micheline Calmy-Rey, Swiss foreign minister

"The situation is evolving by the hour. We have seen the images of live ammunition being fired on people. This is
unacceptable. We call for a halt to violence and recognising people's right to express themselves," she told Swiss
television.

"History is unfolding before our eyes. From the year-long diplomatic crisis we had with Libya, we have a certain knowledge of how this regime functions.

"Today we greatly admire the Libyan people for going out in the street and demanding their liberty and democracy."

Michael Spindelegger, Austrian foreign minister

"The violent conduct of the Libyan government is shocking and must be condemned in the strongest of terms. Violence against peaceful demonstrators, that are only exercising their right to free assembly and freedom of expression, must be stopped immediately. I call on the Libyan leadership to begin immediately a broad dialogue answering to the demands of the Libyan people for reform. This is the only way more bloodshed can be avoided."

William Hague, British foreign secretary

"The UK is gravely concerned about the situation in Libya which is deplorable and unacceptable.

"We are today summoning the Libyan Ambassador to London to the Foreign Office, to convey in the strongest terms our absolute condemnation of the use of lethal force against demonstrators."

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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