Security Council to discuss Libyan no-fly zone soon

United Nations: As Muammar Gaddafi`s forces get closer to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in Libya, the Security Council will meet soon to discuss a draft resolution for imposing a no-fly zone over the country.

As fierce fighting continues between Muammar Gaddafi`s troops and opposition groups, the Security Council will meet today to discuss a draft resolution for imposing a no-fly zone over Libya.

The text of the draft resolution, which has been co-authored by Britain and France, was circulated by Lebanon, a non-permanent member of the Council yesterday, but other countries in the Council are still not completely on board.

"The Lebanese colleague tried to answer the questions and he also believed that he has to check with members of the Arab League," said Li Baodong, China`s envoy to the UN, who holds the rotating presidency of the Council for this month.

"He will come back tomorrow with some answers and members believe that they should report what was discussed by the council and also the draft back to their capitals to get instructions," Li told reporters.

On Saturday, the Arab League called for a no-fly zone to be imposed over Libya but questions have been raised about the implementation of this measure including where will the assets for this step come from.

Nawaf Salam, Lebanon`s envoy to the UN told journalists that the draft resolution had been submitted by his country together with Libyan diplomats, to be discussed as a "working paper".

As to the question of civilian areas and safe passages that need protection, which was also part of the Arab League decision, the delegation of my country has asked our colleagues in the Libyan mission to identify to us such areas in order to properly follow up on the matter," Salam told journalists.

Responding to concerns that a no-fly zone would look like foreign intervention, Salam said, "An authorisation by the UN Security Council by no means can be a form of foreign intervention".

Last month, the Security Council adopted a resolution slapping sanctions on the Libyan regime, which included a complete arms embargo, an asset freeze and a travel ban on Gaddafi and his loyalists, and a referral to the Hague-based International Criminal Court.

The resolution, however, has not deterred the Libyan strongman from his agenda of consolidating power by using violence.

The draft resolution, Salam said, included a second section "related to the strengthening and widening of sanctions imposed on Libya".

Responding to whether China would support the no-fly zone, Li said full implementation of the previous Security Council resolution imposing sanctions.

"We believe that Security Council should consider the next step," he added.

"But what step should be taken really depends on the consultations among member states and also depends on whether that will be helpful to bring back the peace and end violence".