Paris: France said on Tuesday that there would
be no international military action against Libya, including
the imposition of a no-fly zone, without a "clear mandate"
from the United Nations.
"At the moment I am talking to you, no military
intervention is expected," Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told
the French parliament hours after taking up his new job after
transferring from the defence ministry.
"Different options are being studied -- notably that
of an air exclusion zone -- but I say very clearly that no
intervention will be undertaken without a clear mandate from
the United Nations Security Council."
Juppe also appeared to play down the threat that
Moamer Gaddafi's regime could still pose to his rebellious
people, arguing that he is "hunkered down in Tripoli and it
Juppe's statement distanced France at least
rhetorically from Britain and the United States, which on
Tuesday ramped up pressure on the Libyan strongman by pushing
for a no-fly zone to be imposed quickly.
"It is not acceptable to have a situation where
Colonel Gaddafi can be murdering his own people, using
aeroplanes and helicopter gunships and the like," said British
Prime Minister David Cameron.
"We have to plan now to make sure that if it happens
we can do something to stop it. It's right for us to plan and
look at plans for a no-fly zone."
Susan Rice, Washington's ambassador to the United
Nations, told NBC news: "We are going to squeeze him
economically in conjunction with the rest of the economic
community. We'll squeeze him militarily."
France's Prime Minister Francois Fillon said on Monday
that Paris was in talks with allies about a possible air
embargo to stop a beleaguered Kadhafi from bombing his own
citizens, many of whom are in revolt against him.
But he said that France could not act without its NATO
allies and said that the UN Security Council would be
consulted before any action was taken.
And earlier today, France's minister for European
affairs had expressed doubts about the idea of enforcing an
air exclusion zone.
First Published: Wednesday, March 02, 2011, 00:38