Paris: Lebanon to Try Swaying Opponents of Libya No-Fly Zone


The U.N. Security Council on Monday held talks on Libya, as France said it hoped that Arab League support for a no-fly zone would be a "game-changer" in securing international action.

As he entered the talks, French envoy to the Security Council Gerard Araud said Lebanon -- as the current Arab representative on the Security Council -- would also be working to sway opponents of a no-fly zone, led by China and Russia.

With Moammar Gadhafi's forces making new ground against opposition rebels, the 15-nation council heard a briefing from a top U.N. official on the Libya conflict and was to have broad talks about a no-fly zone, diplomats said.

The Arab League on Saturday called for a no-fly zone but the international debate on military measures has been clouded by the African Union's opposition to "military intervention."

Lebanese Ambassador Nawwaf Salam said that he circulated the Arab League's weekend communique to the rest of the council's 15 members by e-mail.

"France and the UK, we have been in favor of a no-fly zone for some time so now that there is this Arab League statement we do hope that it is a game-changer for the other members of the council," the French envoy said.

He said France wanted to be able to start formal talks on a resolution later this week.

The United States remains cautious about no-fly zones and Germany has indicated it would rather intensify political and economic sanctions first.

The Security Council ordered a travel ban and asset freeze against Gadhafi and members of his regime on February 26. It also ordered an arms embargo against Libya and a crimes against humanity investigation into the Libyan leader's crackdown against opposition protests.