Libya says it accepts the no-fly zone imposed on Thursday night by the UN and claims it has stopped all military operations against rebel forces.
Libya’s foreign minister Moussa Koussa said that Muammar Gaddafi’s government has decided on an immediate ceasefire as Libya “takes great interest in protecting civilians.” He added that authorities would also protect all foreigners and foreign interests.
France, who along with Britain and Lebanon had pushed for the resolution, remains cautious with officials saying the threat on the ground had not changed. A doctor in Misrata said after the declaration that shelling had continued and that 25 people had been killed.
Urgent diplomatic negotiations have been taking place to decide how to implement the UN Security Council’s resolution to impose a “no-fly” zone over Libya.
On Friday morning the British government announced it would be deploying Tornado fighter jets and Typhoon aircraft to Libya from today. France will also be a major contributor while Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Spain and Italy are also likely to contribute, either with military equipment or by providing air bases.
On Thursday night the council voted with 10 out of 15 votes in favour of imposing a “no-fly” zone and using “all necessary measures” – diplomatic speak for military action – to protect Libyan civilians. The resolution excluded a foreign occupation of Libya. Russia, China, India, Brazil and Germany abstained.
The Council also stressed the need to intensify efforts to find a peaceful solution that responded to the needs of the Libyan people.
Turkey, which is not at present a member of the Security Council, has also called for a peaceful solution. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he respects the UN decision but is against foreign intervention.
Explaining her country’s abstention, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country understands the resolution, but won’t actively take part in military action.