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Adoption by the United Nations Security Council of resolution 1973 on the situation in Libya

Statement issued by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

Paris, 18 March 2011 Retour à la table des matières


France welcomes United Nations Security Council resolution 1973 which unequivocally authorizes the use of force to protect civilian populations in Libya. This resolution, adopted on 17 March 2011, was drafted and presented on France’s initiative, together with the United Kingdom, Lebanon and the United States.

The adoption of this resolution results from a strong commitment on the part of French diplomacy.

On the eve of the vote, President Sarkozy sent a personal letter to the heads of State and government of the Security Council Member States in order to solemnly urge them to assume their full responsibilities and to support this resolution while the Libyan population is in grave danger.

Alain Juppé is the only minister who went to New York in order, through a major initiative at the Security Council, to persuade the Member States of the Council and to secure the votes necessary for the adoption of the resolution.

While the Security Council had sent a message of firmness to Colonel Qaddafi through resolution 1970, the violence perpetrated against the civilian population only grew fiercer. The prospect of an imminent massacre required the urgent adoption of this resolution. As the Ministre d’Etat stressed to the Security Council "we can’t abandon civilian populations suffering a brutal crackdown to their fate."

This resolution provides the international community with the means, including military means, to protect the Libyan civilian population:

— it allows the establishment of a no-fly zone and authorizes those Arab League members and [UN] Member States who so wish to take the necessary measures to implement it;

— it authorizes those Member States to take all necessary measures, in addition to the no-fly zone, to protect the population and territories, including Benghazi, which are under threat of an attack by the Qaddafi regime’s forces;

— it strengthens the sanctions adopted against this regime, whether it be by implementing the arms embargo, freezing the assets of the Tripoli authorities or banning flights by Libyan airlines.

This is a real achievement for the Libyan population, for the United Nations and for the Arab League.

Through this resolution, the message to Qaddafi’s regime is unequivocal; Qaddafi’s regime must draw all of the consequences.

France will participate, with its partners - notably its Arab partners who so wish - in the military operations that may be necessary.



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