UN Security Council to meet on Libya on Thursday

UN Security Council to meet on Libya on Thursday

The UN Security Council is scheduled to meet on the current situation in Libya on Thursday at the request of the North African country, diplomats said Monday, Xinhua reported.

The decision was made by the 15-nation UN body at the end of the closed-door meeting, which kicked off at around 3:00 p.m. EDT here Monday.

But the diplomats can not confirm whether the Thursday morning meeting is open or closed.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is visiting Egypt and Tunisia, is expected to brief the Council on Libya, the diplomats said.

The meeting will take place at the request of the Libyan government, headed by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The United Nations recognizes the Gaddafi government as the legitimate government of Libya.

Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kousa wrote a letter to the Security Council, calling for "an emergency meeting" to discuss what he said "an external conspiracy" in "targeting the Jamahiriya and its unity and territorial integrity."

The Security Council adopted a resolution on Thursday to impose a no-fly zone over Libya in order to protect the Libyan civilians from threat of attacks in the North African country.

China and Russia, the two permanent members with veto power on the Council, and Brazil, Germany and India, the three non- permanent Council members, abstained from the voting on the draft resolution, which was presented by France, Lebanon, Britain and the United States. Lebanon is one of the 10 non-permanent members of the Security Council.

On Saturday, France, Britain and the United States launched air strikes against Libya.

On Monday, Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin criticized the West-led military actions against Libya, saying that their military strikes were based on a "flawed" Security Council resolution, reports said.

The new UN resolution "is surely, flawed and lame ... it allows intervention in a sovereign country," Putin said.

Speaking in the town of Votkinsk, Russia's military-industrial "capital" in Udmurt republic, Putin also lashed out at the role of the United States in the actions against Libya.

"Use of force against other countries became a steady trend in the U.S. policy," Putin said, adding that this trend was " disturbing."

On Sunday, Amr Mussa, the secretary general of the Arab League, criticized the international coalition force's bombing which hit civilians in Libya. He told reporters that "what has happened in Libya differs from the goal of imposing a no-fly zone and what we want is the protection of civilians and not bombing other civilians."

Mussa called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League on the current situation of Libya.

The Arab League endorsed the no-fly zone in its March 12 decision at the end of an emergency meeting on Libya.

"From the start, we requested only that a no-fly zone be set up to protect Libyan civilians and avert other developments or additional measures," Mussa said.

Also on Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is visiting Egypt, called on Libyan authorities to end violence against civilians.

Libyan authorities in the capital Tripoli reportedly declared a ceasefire on Sunday in their battle with opposition forces who have led a popular uprising against the long-time rule of Gaddafi.

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