French President Nicolas
Sarkozy said Western air forces, with Arab League approval, had
gone into action on Saturday over Libya and were preventing
Muammar Gaddafi's forces attacking the rebel city of Benghazi.
"As of now, our planes are preventing air attacks on the
city of Benghazi," he said adding that military action supported
by France, Britain, the United States and Canada and backed by
Arab nations could be halted if Gaddafi stopped his forces
attacking. French planes were also ready to strike Libyan tanks.
"It's a grave decision we've had to take," Sarkozy said
after meeting British Prime Minister David Cameron, US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other leaders in Paris.
"Along with our Arab, European and North American partners,
France has decided to play its part before history."
Sarkozy said of the meeting: "Those taking part agreed to
put in place all necessary means, especially military, to
enforce the decisions of the United Nations Security Council.
"This is why, in agreement with our partners, our air forces
will counter any aggression by Colonel Gaddafi's aircraft
against the population of Benghazi," he said.
"As of now, other French aircraft are ready to intervene
against armoured vehicles which threaten unarmed civilians."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who opposes military
action, was also present and said afterwards that Berlin also
agreed that violence in Libya must end.
Sarkozy, briefing reporters but taking no questions, said:
"Colonel Gaddafi has scorned our warnings. In the past few hours
his forces have intensified their murderous offensive."
"The Libyan people need our aid and support. It's our duty,"
"In Libya, a peaceful civilian population that is seeking
only to be able to choose its own destiny has found itself in
mortal danger. It's our duty to respond to their appeal," he
"Today we are intervening in Libya under the U.N. mandate
with our partners and notably our Arab partners. We are doing it
to protect the civilian population from the murderous madness of
a regime that in killing its own people has lost all legitimacy.
"There is still time for Colonel Gaddafi to avoid the worst,
by acting without delay and without reservations in accordance
with all the demands of the international community. The door of
international diplomacy will open again the moment attacks end."For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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