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Foreign Secretary comments on UN vote on Libya no fly zone

"We have been clear that the world would not accept Qadhafi’s brutality against his own people."

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The UN voted tonight for a no fly zone to be imposed over Libya. Ten votes were in favour, five abstained and none were against. The UK took the lead in drafting the Resolution and was a co-sponsor.

Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke after the vote. He said:

“We have been clear that the world would not accept Qadhafi’s brutality against his own people.

“This Resolution is the expression of that resolve. It is a positive response to the call by the Arab League last weekend for measures to protect and safeguard the civilian population of Libya and it is the culmination of a great deal of hard work in the last few days by France, the United Kingdom, Lebanon and the United States of America.

“This resolution calls for an immediate ceasefire; for an end to violence; for measures to make it more difficult to bring foreign mercenaries into Libya; for a tightening of sanctions on the Qadhafi’s regime. It also calls for and authorises a no fly zone over Libya. It authorises the use of all necessary measures to protect the civilian population and populated areas including Benghazi which, of course, has been threatened with attack in recent hours and recent days.

“We have said all along that Qadhafi must go, that the Libyan people must be able to have a more representative Government and determine their own future. And it is necessary to take these measures to avoid greater bloodshed, to try to stop what is happening in terms of the attacks on civilians and on the people of Libya.

“We have said for a long time that there should be three criteria for being able take action under this kind of authorization - a demonstrable need - and the actions and statements of the Gaddafi regime in recent days have provided that demonstrable need.

“Secondly a clear legal basis; this is the clear legal basis in the Resolution of the United Nations Security Council. And, third, broad support from within the region itself and that is evident in the statement of the Arab League and in the readiness to participate in a no fly zone, for instance, by members of the Arab League.

“So, as of tonight those three criteria are satisfied and fulfilled and this places a responsibility on members of the United Nations and that is a responsibility to which the United Kingdom will now respond.”

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Published 18 March 2011