G8 ministers fail to agree on no-fly zone
Paris, March 15, 2011
G8 foreign ministers warned Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi he faced 'dire consequences' if he ignores the basic rights of his people but they stopped short of recommending a no-fly zone.
The G8 final communique called on the UN Security Council to increase pressure for Gaddafi to leave, including via economic measures, but did not make any mention of an Arab League call for a no-fly zone to be imposed over the north African country.
Earlier, France failed to persuade its G8 partners to support its push for the no-fly zone over Libya, a setback to any chances of swift action to halt Gaddafi's advance against rebel forces.
In a blow too to France's efforts to use the crisis in Libya to reassert its leadership in international diplomacy, a draft communique for the Group of Eight meeting made no mention of a no-fly zone over the North African nation.
The flight restrictions sought by France and Britain were blocked by Russia and Germany during Tuesday's talks, a delegation source told Reuters, asking not to be identified.
'Military intervention is not the solution. From our point of view it is very difficult and dangerous,' German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle later told reporters.
'We do not want to get sucked into a war in North Africa and we would not like to step on a slippery slope where we all are at the end in a war,' he said.
The draft also stressed the importance of the Arab League's involvement in any international action taken in Libya.
France and Britain have led calls for an internationally enforced no-fly zone to slow the advance of Gaddafi's troops, who are using airpower and tanks to crush a revolt by poorly armed rebels against 41 years of authoritarian rule.
Halfway through the first meeting of France's G8 presidency, which has been dominated by Libya, Foreign Minister Alain Juppe admitted to a stalemate that echoed a lack of consensus within the UN Security Council on the issue. - Reuters
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