Arab League asks for no-fly zone over Libya

League approval gives U.S., other Western nations crucial backing in bid to curb Gadhafi violence against Libyans

By Diaa Hadid
Published March 12, 2011 5:42PM (EST)
Anti-Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi rebels, stand on their vehicle shout slogans against Gadhafi at a desert road between Agela and Ras Lanouf towns, eastern Libya, on Saturday March 12, 2011. An emergency European Union summit on Libya brought a no-fly zone no closer, but leaders embraced a new Libyan opposition group as a viable partner after cutting all contact with strongman Moammar Gadhafi. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) (AP)
Anti-Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi rebels, stand on their vehicle shout slogans against Gadhafi at a desert road between Agela and Ras Lanouf towns, eastern Libya, on Saturday March 12, 2011. An emergency European Union summit on Libya brought a no-fly zone no closer, but leaders embraced a new Libyan opposition group as a viable partner after cutting all contact with strongman Moammar Gadhafi. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) (AP)

The Arab League has asked the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.

The 22-member organization, which held a foreign ministers' meeting Saturday in Cairo, can't impose a no-fly zone itself. But its approval gives the U.S. and other Western powers crucial regional backing they say they need before doing so.

Rebels seeking to oust Moammar Gadhafi say they need a no-fly zone to protect them from airstrikes.

The Obama administration has said a no-fly zone may have limited impact, and the international community is divided over the issue.

In a statement released after a closed session, the Arab League said it was asking "the United Nations to carry out its responsibility to impose a no-fly zone over Libya."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

CAIRO (AP) -- Two diplomats say the Arab League has agreed to ask the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.

The 22-member organization, which held a foreign ministers' meeting Saturday in Cairo, can't impose a no-fly zone itself. But its approval would give the U.S. and other Western powers crucial regional backing they say they need before doing so.

Rebels seeking to oust Moammar Gadhafi say they need a no-fly zone to protect them from airstrikes.

The Obama administration has said a no-fly zone may have limited impact, and the international community is divided over the issue.

The Arab diplomats say ministers agreed to the move during a closed session. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the final statement was still being drafted.


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