UN split on Libya no-fly zone; oil escrow mulled

Wed Mar 9, 2011 6:34pm GMT

* US doesn't want to press ahead with no-fly zone-envoys

* Russia, China also skeptical about no-fly zone

* Anti-Gaddafi Libyan envoy rejects oil escrow option

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS, March 9 (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council is split on whether to authorize a no-fly zone over Libya as Britain and France consider tougher options for Tripoli, including setting up an escrow account for oil revenues, envoys said on Wednesday.

Britain and France have been preparing a draft U.N. resolution that would authorize a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent airstrikes against civilians in the North African country where rebels are seeking to oust long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The United States, however, has made clear to London and Paris that the administration of President Barack Obama is in the throes of a policy review and is not ready "to go full steam ahead on a no-fly zone at the moment," a Western diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

The British and French, however, are consulting with Washington and other allies so that they are ready to submit a draft resolution to the 15-nation Security Council immediately in the event of an "egregrious act" against civilians by forces loyal to Gaddafi.

"If they were to bomb a school and kill a dozen children, the French and British are ready to move immediately with a draft on the no-fly zone issue," another diplomat said.   Continued...

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