The Arab League remains committed to United Nations’ efforts to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya and urged coalition forces to make protecting civilians a priority for the operation, Secretary General Amr Moussa said.
“The Arab League decisions have been announced and we are committed to them,” Moussa said at a press conference with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in Cairo. “We respect the Security Council resolution and have no contradiction with this resolution, especially since it stated that there be no invasion or occupation of Libyan lands.”
Ban praised the Arab League for its continued support, saying it was critical for the international community to remain united. “We need one global voice” to sustain the no-fly zone, he said.
The Arab League’s support for a no-fly zone was decisive in getting the Security Council to support the idea, Ban said at the press conference. Media reports have indicated that some Arab League members have been reconsidering their backing since coalition aircraft began bombing Libyan military targets.
Talks are under way for an emergency meeting of Arab League nations to discuss the situation in Libya, the Egyptian government-owned Middle East News Agency reported yesterday, citing Moussa as saying. Moussa said his remarks were misinterpreted.
Ban also condemned violence in Yemen after press reports that 20 people were killed when the army clashed with Houthi rebels. He also warned about spreading unrest in Bahrain.
The secretary general was forced to drop plans to walk through Tahrir Square -- the scene of massive demonstrations last month that toppled President Hosni Mubarak -- before flying to Tunis. Ban was turned back after he left the press conference and was surrounded by a group of about 40 pro-Qaddafi demonstrators chanting “Down, Down USA!” and waving their fists at the secretary general.