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China cool to Libya no-fly zone proposal

Britain and France are both working on a U.N. resolution for a no-fly zone.


March 8, 2011 12:26 by

Any United Nations-authorised action against Libya must ensure it helps the country return to stability as soon as possible, China said on Tuesday in response to British and French proposals for a no-fly zone.

The North African country’s sovereignty must also be respected, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular news conference.

China wants countries to focus on implementing the current U.N. Security Council resolution on Libya and to “urge all sides involved to settle the conflict and calm the situation through dialogue and other peaceful means”, Jiang said.

China supported a resolution for an arms embargo and other sanctions targeting Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his inner circle, and referred the crackdown to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

“Whether in the next step, the Security Council takes action and what that action would be mainly depends on whether it helps Libya to return to stability as soon as possible,” Jiang added.

“In the decision-making process, we believe, Libya’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence should be respected,” she said, adding China would also listen to the views of Arab and African countries.

Britain and France are both working on a U.N. resolution for a no-fly zone.

Western allies differ over how a no-fly zone might be implemented.

The United States has said it would involve a large-scale military operation, including strikes on Libyan air defences, but some military analysts have said it could be limited to preventing flights in Libyan airspace, without a big preliminary campaign.

Some U.S. officials have expressed concern a vote on a no-fly zone could be harder to secure at the Security Council where veto-wielding members Russia and China may resist.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Ben Blanchard and Jonathan Thatcher)


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