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    UN Security Council adopts resolution on Libya (Update 1)

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    The United Nations Security Council on Friday adopted a resolution on Libya.

    The United Nations Security Council on Friday adopted a resolution on Libya.

    The resolution imposes a no-fly zone over the African state and authorizes possible military action except for ground forces. It also freezes assets of Libyan oil companies and the country's Central Bank.

    It authorizes "to take all necessary measures... to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamhariya, including Benghazi, while excluding an occupation force," the UN News Center said.

    Under the resolution, the UN member states will not authorize Libyan planes to take off, land or fly in their airspace, if the flight was not approved by the Security Council's sanctions committee.

    The no-fly zone regime would not apply to planes delivering humanitarian cargo and evacuating foreigners from Libya.

    With nine votes and no veto required for adoption, the resolution secured 10 votes in favor and zero against. Five states, including veto-wielding Russia and China, abstained.

    The draft resolution 1973 was put forward by Lebanon, the United Kingdom, France and the United States and it took three days to debate the wording.

    Russia's envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said preparations for the vote were "not in line with the existing Security Council practices," but Russia did not veto the resolution, acting in accordance with basic UN principles, which urge protection of civilians.

    He said that Russia's "specific and absolutely logical questions concerning the maintenance of the no-fly zone regime and rules for the use of force" were left unanswered.

    "We consistently and firmly support the unconditional protection of civilians. In accordance with this essential principle and humanitarian values it shares with co-authors of the project and other Security Council members, Russia did not hamper the adoption," the Russian diplomat said.

    Churkin said that another resolution, proposed by Russia on March 16 stressed the need of peace settlement in Libya, and expressed regret that some Security Council members preferred "forceful measures" to peace settlement.

    He also said the original wording of the document was changed to the point where it did not correspond with the original concept.

    "The text included clauses paving the way for a large-scale military intervention," he said.

    France, the United Kingdom, Qatar and the U.A.E. may carry out airstrikes on forces of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi early on Friday, hours after the Security Council vote. A British government source earlier said that British forces could be in action over Libya as early as Friday, if the resolution is agreed

    Libya warned on Thursday that any foreign military intervention would put air and maritime traffic in the Mediterranean area under threat, as it would hit both civilian and military targets.

    Mass riots demanding the end of the regime of the country's strongman, Muammar Gaddafi, have been raging in Libya since mid-February. On Thursday, Gaddafi said the confrontation between authorities and the rebellious opposition would end very soon.

    MOSCOW, March 18 (RIA Novosti)

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