15 March 2011
The United Nations Security Council was briefed on the latest events in Libya on Monday amid mounting concern over the fighting between Muammar Gaddafi’s forces and supporters of a popular uprising seeking an end to his four-decades-old rule.
Over the weekend, the Arab League requested that the council impose a no-fly zone against Gaddafi’s air force, which has been pounding cities held by his opponents.
Meanwhile, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Envoy for Libya, former Jordanian foreign minister Abdul Ilah Khatib, arrived in the capital Tripoli and, in a meeting with Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa, reiterated the calls by Ban and the council for an immediate end to the violence.
Khatib called for cooperation from the authorities on human rights and humanitarian concerns, and was assured by senior Libyan officials that the government would fully cooperate with a commission of inquiry recently authorised by the UN Human Rights Council.
He urged the government to allow unfettered access for all relevant UN agencies to assist the Libyan people and alleviate the suffering of those affected.
Khatib’s team will assess the situation on the ground and “undertake broad consultations with Libyan authorities on the immediate humanitarian, political and security situation,” Ban said last Friday, stressing that he had instructed the envoy to convey “in no uncertain terms” the concerns of the UN and international community as expressed in the Security Council resolutions.
In a unanimously adopted resolution, the council last month imposed sanctions against the Libyan authorities, placing an arms embargo on the country and freezing the assets of its leaders, while referring the ongoing violent repression of civilian demonstrators to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands.
ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo subsequently announced that he was opening an investigation into Gaddafi, some of his sons and members of his inner circle for crimes against humanity in repressing peaceful protesters in violence that has claimed hundreds or even thousands of lives, according to media reports.
Ban has said that Gaddafi had lost all legitimacy when he declared war on his people.