UN Security Council Meets Today to Discuss Violence in Libya

The United Nations Security Council will meet today to discuss the situation in Libya, where a violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrators has left hundreds dead.

The consultations are scheduled to start at 9 a.m. in New York. Ibrahim Dabbashi, deputy ambassador and second in command at the Libyan mission, broke with Tripoli and called on the UN to establish a “no-fly zone” around the country to prevent mercenaries and arms from going to the government.

“This is something which the Security Council will have to decide,” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in Los Angeles yesterday, according to a transcript of the news conference. In a 40-minute phone conversation with Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, Ban “forcefully urged him to stop violence against demonstrators.”

Qaddafi, in comments broadcast on state television today, said he hasn’t fled the country amid an eruption of violence the International Federation for Human Rights says has killed more than 300 people. Planes and helicopters fired on protesters and witnesses reported massacres in two neighborhoods of Tripoli, Al Arabiya TV said.

Dabbashi yesterday called for Qaddafi’s resignation and, in appearances on international television networks, asked for an emergency meeting of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to investigate alleged human rights violations. He charged the regime with “genocide.”

‘Voice of the People’

“We find it impossible to stay silent,” Dabbashi said. “We have to transfer the voice of the Libyan people to the world. The Libyan mission will be in the service of the Libyan people rather than in the service of the regime.”

Libya, which has Africa’s largest oil reserves, is the latest Arab nation to be rocked by protests ignited by last month’s ouster of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and the Feb. 11 fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said “the world is watching the situation in Libya with alarm.”

Crude for April delivery surged 8.3 percent from the Feb. 18 close in New York to $97.18 a barrel as of 5 p.m. in Tokyo. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 2 percent. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures sank 1.3 percent from last week.

Dabbashi called on Libya’s neighbors, Egypt and Tunisia, to allow medical supplies to enter the country to treat wounded protesters. He also asked all countries to help prevent Qaddafi from escaping to their territory and to monitor money transfers by the regime.

-- Editors: Jerrold Colten, Louis Meixler

To contact the reporters on this story: Bill Varner at the United Nations at wvarner@bloomberg.net; Flavia Krause-Jackson in Rome at fjackson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net; Mark Silva in Washington at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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