Arab League should pay for no fly zone: US lawmaker



Arab League should pay for no fly zone: US lawmaker Washington: As the Arab League in a consensus decision endorsed a no-fly zone over Libya imposed by Western nations, a top US lawmaker has demanded that the League should pay for imposing such an expensive option against the North African nation.

"Given the costs of a no-fly zone, the risks that our involvement would escalate, the uncertain reception in the Arab street of any American intervention in an Arab country, the potential for civilian deaths, the unpredictability of the endgame, the strains on our military, and other factors, it is doubtful that US interests would be served by imposing a no-fly zone over Libya," said Senator Richard Lugar, the Ranking Republican in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"If the Obama Administration is contemplating this step, however, it should begin by seeking a declaration of war against Libya that would allow for a full Congressional debate on the issue. In addition, it should ask Arab League governments and other governments advocating for a no-fly zone to pledge resources necessary to pay for such an operation." This is not unprecedented, Lugar argued.

"More than USD 50 billion in foreign contributions were received to offset US costs in association with the first Gulf War in 1991. Much of this came from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait," he said.

"This has never been a case about what our capabilities are. Obviously the United States of America has the capacity with its international partners to activate a no-fly zone, as well as take a variety of other potential measures," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

"The issue is making sure that the policy decisions we make, we make collectively with our international partners, because it is very important that the response be an international one and not just an American one, and that we are cognizant of what the goals are and whether they’re achievable, and what the impacts of that decision will be," he said.

NATO and its partners are meeting tomorrow and Thursday in this regard.

"We continue to condemn the use of violence against the Libyan people by the Qaddafi regime, and we are encouraged by the international condemnation of that and by the actions taken by the Arab League, for example, because we believe that whatever actions we do take should be international and especially should represent the will of the people in the region and the countries in the region. That’s why the Arab League’s voice on this is so important," Carney said.

PTI