Australian FM hopes UN decision on Libya not too late

Kevin Rudd however ruled out Canberra becoming involved militarily in Libya.

Sydney: Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said on Friday he hoped a UN Security Council resolution on Libya was not too late, as he ruled out Canberra becoming involved militarily.

"Let us all hope and pray that this final resolve of the international community is not too late for the people of Libya," said Rudd, who on Thursday urged the UN not to go "weak at the knees" in reeling in Muammar Gaddafi.

"This is an important step in the diplomatic battle.”

"It has been long fought, now the military battle on the ground has been joined and therefore... we would support the implementation of the provisions of this resolution."

Members of the Security Council earlier Friday approved a resolution permitting "all necessary measures" to impose a no-fly zone, protect civilian areas and impose a ceasefire on Gaddafi’s military.

The vote passed 10-0 with five abstentions in the 15 member council. Permanent members China and Russia were among those abstaining, but did not use their veto power, which would have sunk the resolution.

A coalition of Britain, France and the United States is expected to launch air strikes imminently as Gaddafi`s troops close in on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

But Rudd said Australia would not get involved militarily, although there was scope to be involved diplomatically.

"If the no-fly zone was imposed in this part of the world, Australian assets would be considered as a possible inclusion in any such UN operation," he said.

"It is across the Mediterranean from the NATO zone -- this is primarily the responsibility of adjoining states."

Bureau Report

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