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19:23 GMT +3 hours18 December 2014
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Arab League votes for no-fly zone over Libya (Update 1)

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Arab League foreign ministers voted on Saturday to ask the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.

Arab League foreign ministers voted on Saturday to ask the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.

The vote, at a special meeting in Cairo, was backed by all member states. It was previously reported that it was opposed by Syria and Algeria.

The Arab League also voted to open channels of communication with a Libyan rebel council based in Benghazi and extend formal recognition to the rebel movement.

Gaddafi said on Wednesday the no-fly proposal was a "colonialist plot" by the West to steal Libyan oil.

Calls for the zone closure have stepped up in recent days after Libyan armed forces launched further air strikes on the rebel frontline in the east of the country.

Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has expressed reservations on the issue.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday the organization was considering a range of options, including humanitarian aid and military intervention, but any action should have a clear legal basis.

According to some media reports NATO's military staff have started drawing up contingency plans for sending air and naval forces into combat if called upon.

Thousands of people have been killed since the first protesters began demanding the end of Gaddafi's 42-year rule in mid-February.

 

CAIRO, March 12 (RIA Novosti)