NATO Countries Lack Consensus For Intervention In Libya
While violence in Libya does not show signs of stopping, European leaders met at a NATO-EU summit to discuss possible responses. One of the most talked about suggestions is a no-fly zone.
Talks about the crisis in Libya have also occurred in the UN and by individual countries.
At this point, however, there is no clear consensus as some countries, such as France, show a strong desire to intervene and others, such as Russia, are against intervention.
Below is a list of some of the countries in NATO’s views on Libya, starting with those with the strongest desire to intervene.
At the European Union foreign ministers meeting, France said it would recognize the opposition group--the Libyan National Council--as the country’s official representation. This marks France as the first country to give legitimacy to the rebel uprising.
At the meeting, France also reported it wanted to bomb Muammar Gaddafi’s strongholds, according to Bloomberg. France did not gain a consensus at the meeting.
France, the U.K. and Italy have urged NATO to enforce a no-fly zone. France favors more direct air strikes against Libyan military bases.
France and Britain are currently drafting a resolution for the UN Security Council that includes enforcing a no-fly zone.
After France’s recognition of the Libyan Nation Council was announced, Libyan state media said the county would cut ties with France, according to Al Jazeera. The opposition though, is claiming the move is a major step forward.
The U.K. joined France and Italy in urging NATO to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya and is currently drafting a resolution for the UN Security Council to enforce the no-fly zone.
U.K. foreign minister William Hague, however, said that France’s recognition of the Libyan National Council as the country’s official representation would not be followed.
“We recognize states rather than groups within states. If they are legitimate people to discuss things with then it’s important that we do,” Hague told the Financial Times.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said France’s recognition of the rebel council was premature. He cited that the council has only met with 27-country block.
“We should open dialogue with them and Italy has led the way,” Frattini said at a news conference according to Bloomberg. “But at this point, we can’t really consider them as the government since more than 20 EU members don’t even know who they are.”
Italy was Libya’s colonial ruler and plans to re-open a consulate in Benghazi which was close after anti-Italian riots in 2006
Italy has said that they will not bomb Libya and want a UN resolution preventing it.
Germany has not been enthusiastic about the idea of a no-fly zone in Libya.
Germany has, however, frozen Libyan government bank accounts in accord with UN sanctions. The UK, Canada, US and Switzerland have already done so as well.
U.S. and Canada
The U.S. has been against military intervention. U.S. commanders are reluctant to open a new front when they are already positioned in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to The Guardian.
The US has also expressed doubt that a no-fly one would protect citizens. The US has also claimed that it lacks the authority to enforce a no-fly one, citing the need of a UN mandated to undergo such actions.
Canada has followed the US in freezing bank accounts. Canada has also urged the government to stop violent acts against protestors.
Russia is against a no-fly zone and will likely veto any military intervention and is against any foreign intervention. Russia has veto power in the UN Security Council and, along with China, is likely to use this power to prevent intervention.
“Intervention in internal affairs, especially military interference, is unacceptable Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told The Hindu. “Any rash action, based on models that may be applicable in other parts of the world, could create serious problems that will then have to be sorted out by the African countries themselves,” Mr. Lavrov said at a press conference with his Congolese counterpart in Moscow.
Russia has, however, signed a decree banning weapons sold in Libya.
Turkey, NATO’s third-largest member and a Muslim state, is opposed to a no-fly zone and against imposing sanctions.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters external intervention would make the situation in Libya worse. He also said that protestors would oppose intervention and the power exchange would have to be a natural process without outside interference according to the Tehran Times.
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