After days of discussions, the UN Security Council has adopted a resolution on Libya that lets the world community “take all necessary measures” to protect the civilian population.
The resolution, though, excludes “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.”
Ten out of 15 countries on the United Nations Security Council voted in support of the resolution. Russia, Brazil, China, Germany and India abstained from the vote.
The resolution calls for an immediate cease-fire in Libya and also implements an authorization of a no-fly zone over the country. It also says that all countries should act unilaterally and take all necessary means to protect civilians in Libya from the violence that has been escalating over the past month.
The definition “all necessary means” gives the UN a lot of room in deciding how to act when it comes to quelling the uprising in Libya.
The vote was passed a lot quicker than had been anticipated – it took less than an hour.
Vitaly Churkin, Russia Ambassador to the United Nations, said while Moscow did not completely agree with the resolution, they had chose to abstain in the vote, rather than veto it, as they were “persistent firm advocates of the protection of the civilian population.”
“Guided by this basic principle, as well as by common humanitarian values which we share with both the co-sponsors and the other Security Council members, Russia did not prevent the adoption of this resolution. However, we are convinced that the quickest way to ensure robust security for the civilian population for the long-time civilisation situation in Libya is an immediate cease fire,” added Churkin.
Libyan authorities have called the resolution a “threat to the country’s unity.” The deputy foreign minister of Libya, Khaled Kaim, said the resolution “calls on Libyans to kill each other.”
He also expressed gratitude to the five countries that abstained from the vote.
In the meantime, upon the announcement of the resolution, numerous celebrations began in the opposition-controlled city of Benghazi.
Earlier, the prospect of Russia vetoing the resolution had been widely discussed in the media. However, Russia, along with the other veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, China, only abstained from voting.
The reason for the hesitation was an unwillingness to support any measures that would open the door for military intervention in Libya. Russia, along with some other countries, had at first called for a diplomatic approach.
There are fears among many experts that military intervention would only exacerbate the violence in Libya.
But at the same time, the BRIC countries and Germany may not have wanted to block the international community from trying to stop the violence in Libya. This may explain the abstention from the vote, instead of a veto.
It remains unknown when the international community will begin to take any action and what will result from them.
Britain and France claim to be prepared to act immediately. It has also been reported by many US media outlets that the Pentagon has been preparing for some sort of action against Libya.
It is expected that those Western countries will be among the ones to act first.