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UN draft on Libya calls for 'all necessary measures'

The latest draft resolution on Libya calls for 'all necessary measures' to protect civilians, short of an occupation. The head of NATO warned the UN Security Council that 'time is running out' to stop Gadhafi.

Protests calling for a no-fly zone over Libya

No-fly zone plans remain up in the air at the UN Security Council

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said Thursday that the latest draft resolution currently circulating among UN Security Council members calls for "all necessary measures short of an occupation force to protect civilians under threat of attack, including in Benghazi."

Hague told Parliament that the latest version included demands for an immediate ceasefire and a ban on all flights in Libyan airspace with the exception of humanitarian flights.

Germany, which is opposed to any military intervention, has urged tougher financial sanctions against Gadhafi's regime. "We propose a further strengthening of sanctions to prevent the influx of financial means into the system," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in Berlin

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen Thursday warned that time was of the essence and urged the United Nations Security Council to act swiftly.

"If Gadhafi prevails it will send a clear signal that violence pays. That would be unacceptable from a humanitarian and democratic perspective," he wrote on his Facebook page. "But time is running out. The sooner the United Nations can reach an agreement the better," he added.

The US, France and Britain have urged the United Nations Security Council to take swift action on a proposed no-fly zone over Libya. A French diplomat was quoted as saying that the draft resolution had the required support, paving the way for a vote later Thursday followed swiftly by military intervention.

No-fly zone and more?

The US gave its strongest indication yet that it would back a resolution authorizing a no-fly zone. "We are discussing very seriously and leading efforts in the Council around a range of actions that we believe could be effective in protecting civilians," said US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice.

"The US view is that we need to be prepared to contemplate steps that include but perhaps go beyond a no-fly zone," she added.

On the ground there were reports that Gadhafi's troops had managed to push through rebel-held areas and were now positioned on the outskirts of the key eastern city of Benghazi. A US State Department official said the regime's forces were making "quick" advances thanks to their superior military power.

Gadhafi had earlier said that his forces would fight a "decisive battle" to retake Benghazi. This comes after his troops had launched a major offensive on Ajdabiya to the south of Benghazi. A hospital official there said at least 30 people had been killed and at least 80 others wounded since Tuesday.

Author: Rob Mudge (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Michael Knigge

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