No-fly zone in Libya
United Nations (CNN) – Told the time to act was diminishing by the hour, the U.N. Security Council voted this evening to impose a no-fly zone and “all necessary measures” to protect civilians, as forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi closed in on the rebel stronghold.
Opposition leaders, who have suffered military setbacks this week, said such measures were necessary for them to have any chance of thwarting Gadhafi’s imminent assault on Benghazi.
“We’re hoping and praying that the United Nations will come up with a very firm and very fast resolution and they will enforce it immediately,” said Ahmed El-Gallal, a senior opposition coordinator, before the vote.
“We should not arrive too late,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said at the U.N.
The resolution was approved with 10 votes, including those of the United States and the United Kingdom.
There were no opposing votes on the 15-member council, but China, Russia, Germany, India and Brazil abstained. Germany said it was concerned about a protracted military conflict.
U.N. member states can “take all necessary measures … to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force,” according to the resolution.