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US, NATO weighing legality of no-fly zone

[ 2011-03-10 10:27]     字号 [] [] []  
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The United States and its NATO allies are weighing the legality of imposing a no-fly zone over Libya without United Nations backing, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing US and European officials.

With a UN mandate far from certain, countries considering some form of military intervention - the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Italy - are looking for alternative international support, the officials told the newspaper.

The officials suggested international backing could come from regional blocs, such as the Arab League, the African Union or the European Union, and noted that NATO's air attacks on Yugoslavia in 1999 came without UN authorization, the Post said.

In addition to a no-fly zone, the United States and other NATO governments are weighing a range of military options that would not require a UN resolution, such as the establishment of an air or naval bridge to carry humanitarian supplies to Libya and naval patrols to block arms shipments to the Libyan government, the newspaper reported.

Facing growing calls at home to help Libyan rebels seeking to end Muammar Gadhafi's 41-year rule, US President Barack Obama discussed a potential no-fly zone for Libya with UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday.

Obama and Cameron discussed a "full spectrum of possible responses" in a telephone call, the White House said.

Forces loyal to Gadhafi attacked rebels with rockets, tanks and planes on Tuesday, intensifying their efforts to crush the revolt and raising pressure on foreign governments to act to avert a humanitarian crisis in the oil-producing nation.

The UK and France are seeking a UN Security Council resolution for a no-fly zone to ground Libyan government aircraft and prevent the authorities from moving troops by air.

NATO military officials began briefing governments on Tuesday night on the proposed options that will be presented to defense ministers in Brussels on Thursday, the Post reported.

Both the United States and the UK have insisted that any military intervention must have broad international support.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that any decision to impose a no-fly zone is a matter for the United Nations and should not be a US-led initiative.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

US, NATO weighing legality of no-fly zone

About the broadcaster:

US, NATO weighing legality of no-fly zone

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.