Sunday, February 27, 2011
The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously Saturday to impose sanctions on Libya amid Moammar Gadhafi's escalating attacks on anti-government protesters.
The approved resolution includes an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel bans for Gadhafi and several of his key associates. It also refers the violent crackdown to the International Criminal Court.
"The text send a strong message that gross violations of basic human rights will not be tolerated and that those responsible for grave crimes will be held accountable. I hope the message is heard, and heeded, by the regime in Libya," said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's deputy ambassador to the United Nations who earlier voiced opposition to Gadhafi's government, said after the vote the resolution would provide moral support to the people resisting in Libya. He urged officers in the armed forces to renounce Gadhafi.
One point of contention revolved around language in the resolution that referred to adopting "all necessary measures to enable the return to Libya of humanitarian agencies and to secure the prompt and safe delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need."
There was concern that the language could be interpreted as including military intervention. That section of the resolution was softened in the approved version to call on member states to work together to "facilitate and support" the return of humanitarian agencies. Gerard Araud, France's ambassador to the United Nations, described the pace of the resolution proceedings earlier in the day as "an earthquake."
The United Nations estimates that 1,000 people have been killed since the Libyan uprising began last week. Ban had urged the Security Council to come up with immediate actions against Gadhafi's regime. "In these circumstances, the loss of time means more loss of lives," Ban told the 15-member body Friday.
The session Saturday comes the day after Libyan Ambassador Mohamed Shalgam made an impassioned appeal to his United Nations counterparts. "I hope within hours, not days, that they can do something tangible," he said. Some, however, were skeptical of the sanctions and said they would not have teeth.
Fouad Ajami of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies told CNN that Gadhafi had survived sanctions once before, in the aftermath of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
"The sanctions never worked," he said. "Anyone with money can break these sanctions."