Russia, China seen as hard sell on Libya no-fly zone

Mon Mar 7, 2011 9:34pm GMT

* UK, France draft UN council resolution

* NATO has Libya under 24-hour aerial surveillance

* Diplomat: Russia hasn't ruled out no-fly zone

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS, March 7 (Reuters) - Britain and France are preparing a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya, and diplomats said on Monday it will be tough but not impossible to get Russia and China's support.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said in London that Britain was working with other countries on a draft. Diplomats in Paris and New York said the work was being done by Britain and France in close consultation with the United States and Germany.

Hague told the British parliament there were "credible reports" that Libyan government forces had used helicopter gunships against civilians as supporters of Muammar Gaddafi try to put down a revolt against his 41-year rule.

In Cairo over the weekend, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe voiced support for a no-fly zone over the oil-producing North African state. "Assuming that the fighting becomes more lethal, we must prepare to respond," he said. "That's why we accepted the no-fly zone plan over Libya."

"For us, such an intervention can only be conceived, of course, under a U.N. mandate and with the participation of the Arab League and African Union," Juppe added.   Continued...

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