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UN vote clears way for Libya air strikes

17 marca, 2011

The UN Security Council Thursday cleared the way for air strikes to halt Moamer Kadhafi\'s offensive against embattled rebel forces in Libya, with the first bombing raids possible within hours.

It approved a resolution permitting "all necessary measures" to impose a no-fly zone, protect civilian areas and impose a ceasefire on Kadhafi\'s military.

The vote passed 10-0 with five abstentions in the 15 member council. Permament members China and Russia were among those abstaining, but did not use their veto power.

Diplomats have indicated that air strikes from a coalition led by Britain, France and the United States could be imminent as Kadhafi\'s troops close in on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. However, the resolution rules out sending foreign ground troops.

The Libyan leader said earlier Thursday he would take the town and "chase the traitors."

Addressing the Security Council, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the world had to act to support Libya, following peaceful revolts against authoritarian leaders across the Arab world.

"The world is living one of its great revolutions that changes the course of history. In North Africa, the Persian Gulf, the Arab people are calling to breathe democracy," he said.

"In Libya, alas, for a number of weeks the people\'s will has been shot down to its feet by Colonel Kadhafi."

"We are ready and willing to act togther, including with Arab members. We have very little time left. It is a matter of days. Perhaps it is a matter of hours," Juppe said. "We should not arrive too late.