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UN Security Council to discuss Libya

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March 21, 2011, 8:49 p.m. | World — by Associated Press

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon greets Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Li Baodong, center, Brazilian Ambassador to the United Nations Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti takes her seat before a Security Council meeting on the peace and security in Africa, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011 at U. N. headquarters.
© AP

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council scheduled closed talks Monday to discuss Libya's call for an emergency meeting of the U.N.'s most powerful body to halt what it called "military aggression" by France and the United States. The council scheduled consultations for 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) in response to a letter dated Saturday from Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kousa.

China's deputy U.N. ambassador Wang Min said "the council members will consult on how to deal with the request" for an emergency session.

The Security Council late Thursday authorized military action to protect civilians from attacks by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces and imposed a no-fly zone over the country.

On Saturday, U.S., French and British forces launched airstrikes against Libyan air defenses, tanks, armored personnel carriers and other military hardware.

Kousa's letter, obtained by The Associated Press, claimed that "an external conspiracy was targeting the (Libyan) Jamahiriya and its unity and territorial integrity." Gadhafi's regime calls the country the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

By authorizing military action to protect civilians and imposing a no-fly zone, he said, "the Security Council has paved the way for military aggression against Libyan territory."

The foreign minister accused France and the United States of bombing "several civilian sites, thereby violating all international norms and instruments, most notably the Charter of the United Nations, which provides for non-intervention in the affairs of member states."

The letter called for "an emergency meeting in order to halt this aggression."

Diplomats said the council would also likely discuss another letter Kousa sent Thursday — just before the council vote.

The March 17 letter, also obtained by AP, defended Libya's actions and argued that the draft resolution was a violation of international law, human rights and the U.N. Charter.

"Libya's actions are a legitimate response against terrorism as it seeks to defend itself and to prevent terrorism from spreading in the Mediterranean region and al-Qaida from infiltrating Europe, in accordance with the counterterrorism instruments to which it is party," Kousa said.

Kousa claimed the draft resolution and the resolution adopted by the council on Feb. 26 exceed the council mandate and set "a dangerous precedent."

The earlier resolution imposed an arms embargo on Libya and a travel ban and asset freeze on Gadhafi and members of his family and regime. It also referred Libya to the International Criminal Court for possible crimes against humanity.

The foreign minister asked why the Security Council didn't similarly intervene in other conflict situations between a state and armed groups such as the Palestinians, Chechnya, the Lord's Resistance Army, Kashmir and Algeria.
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