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UN calls for end of Libyan bloodshed

UN calls for end of Libyan bloodshed

Thursday 24 February 2011, 12:31AM

The UN Security Council on February 21 condemned attacks by Moamer Kadhafi's forces against Libyan protesters and demanded an immediate end to violence in which hundreds have been killed.

The 15-nation council - the Western powers along with China, India and Russia - made a pointed call for action against those responsible for the attacks.

The council "condemned the violence and use of force against civilians, deplored the repression against peaceful demonstrators and expressed deep regret at the deaths of hundreds of civilians."

Libyan authorities have acknowledged at least 300 dead in the past week, but rights groups say the toll could be as high as 400.

Council members "underscored the need to hold to account those responsible for attacks, including by forces under their control, on civilians," said a statement released after protracted negotiations.

"They called for an immediate end to the violence and for steps to address the legitimate concerns of the population."

Kadhafi was not named in the statement, but it made clear that the strongman who has ruled the North African nation for more than four decades was the target.

The council said the Libyan government must "protect its population," allow access to international human rights monitors and humanitarian agencies, as well as ensure the safety of foreigners and help those who want to leave.

Libyan diplomats who have broken with Kadhafi called on the Security Council to hold the meeting and requested a UN no-fly zone over the country as well as humanitarian action. But diplomats said these plans were not discussed.

"People have seen many planes overhead, they have seen helicopters overhead, they have seen tanks, they have seen some firing going on on the ground, they have seen some snipers," Pascoe said.

Kadhafi ordered his forces to crush the uprising against his rule, warning armed protesters they will be executed and vowing to fight to the end.

The Arab world's longest-serving ruler said he would die as a martyr rather than give up power.


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