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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Newslinks: March 3 - Updates On Proposed No Fly Zone in Libya

U.S Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pointed out the logistic roadblocks to imposing a No Fly Zone (NFZ) over Libya in speeches yesterday and today. The Defense Department appeared extremely reticent to commit to taking part in a NFZ. On Monday, U.S. officials called British Prime Minister Cameron's call for a NFZ "pre-mature." Libyan leader Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, speaking about Cameron, was quoted as saying, "Everybody wants to be a hero, to be important in history."

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and British Foreign Secretary William Hague both stated they were in favor of imposing the NFZ. Juppe also rejected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's proposal to help form an international peace commission to instantiate mediation between Gaddafi and "pro rebel forces" in Libya.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerville came out in opposition to the NFZ as did Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Lavro called the NFZ "superfluous" and urged international interests to focus on U.N. sanctions. Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said in Brussels Tuesday, "If someone in Washington is seeking a blitzkrieg in Libya, it is a serious mistake because any use of force outside the NATO responsibility zone and will be considered a violation of international law." He further stated that the NFZ would constitute a serious interference in the internal affairs of another country and that it would at least require a resolution from the U.N. Security Council.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech in Hannover, Germany, on Monday that NATO intervention in Libya was "nonsense." "What does NATO have to do with Libya? NATO's intervention in Libya is out of the question. We are against such a thing," he continued. Turkey is a voting member of NATO and was also against the 2003 NFZ over Iraq.

The Arab League seemed to hint that it was in favor of a NFZ, but that it should be handled by Arab League members and African Union states. A statement released Tuesday said in part, "The Arab League cannot remain with their arms folded when the blood of brotherly Libyan people is being shed. The ministers have decided to pursue talks on the best way to protect Libya's citizens, including the imposition of an aerial exclusion zone and coordination between the Arab League and the African Union."

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