Dubai: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries on Monday demanded that the UN Security Council impose a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians, as Britain and France are seeking authorisation for that action.
"The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) demands that the UN Security Council take all necessary measures to protect civilians, including enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya," foreign ministers of the six-nation bloc said in a statement read out by outgoing Secretary-General Abdul Rahman Al Attiyah.
Meanwhile, the Arab League also threw its backing for a no-fly zone, French officials said on Monday, quoting the League's Secretary-General Amr Mousa.
The GCC statement in Abu Dhabi condemned "crimes committed against civilians, the use of heavy arms and the recruitment of mercenaries" by the Libyan regime.
The UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the Gulf states had reached their decision after Libyan authorities "totally refused to allow aid" to reach civilians, a situation which he termed as "painful and provocative".
"The situation in Libya is not just military operations against civilians, but also depriving them from humanitarian aid. This cannot be tolerated and those responsible should be brought to justice," Shaikh Abdullah told a news conference after a GCC foreign ministers' meeting in Abu Dhabi as the UN appealed for financial support totaling $160 million (Dh587.97 million) to fund an operation over the next three months to get shelter, food and medicines ready.
"We call on the international community, especially the UN Security Council, to face their responsibilities in helping the dear people," Shaikh Abdullah said.
The United States has said it is studying the possibility of enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya while warning of the major military operation it would entail.
The UN Security Council unanimously passed sanctions against the Gaddafi regime and ordered a crimes against humanity investigation on February 26. Any new move towards military action is likely to face tough resistance from China, Russia and other members of the 15 however.
Shaikh Abdullah said the meeting is being held amid difficult changes the brotherly Libyan people are going through, prompting us to join our efforts to help them in their crisis.
Al Attiyah also strongly attacked Gaddafi's regime saying he hoped for an end to "the nightmare that has haunted a country such as Libya for more than four decades".
The Gulf foreign ministers also expressed support for Bahrain and Oman, which have been hit by the wave of protests which has swept across the Arab world.
Shaikh Abdullah praised the Omani authorities' handling of the demonstrations.
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